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Tibetan Rugs

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Tibetan rugs are unique and made in a way that no other rug is made. Learn more about what Tibetan rugs are and how to display them from Sam Presnell, owner of the Rug Gallery.

John Maher: Welcome to the Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m John Maher, I’m here with the owner of the Rug Gallery Sam Presnell. Hi Sam.

Sam Presnell: Hi John.

How Tibetan Rugs Are Made 

John: So Sam today we’re talking about Tibetan rugs. So, what type of unique wool are Tibetan rugs made from?

tibetan rug

Sam: I think that’s the key to Tibetan rugs [that] will make them different any other rug in the world – it’s the wool. You can imagine being from the Tibetan plateau, is a very cold climate and those sheep have been bred for thousands of years for their wool. They are basically have very hardy, sturdy, well made wool with a lot of lanolin and also very long staple, which means they [have] long lengths. So when you’re shearing a sheep, you want those long lengths, because when you shear something you can spin it much tighter when you got those long lengths.

We call that long staple and a lot of times you see cheaper rugs they usually use short fibers called short staples but the Tibetan rugs, the wool is the key and its all because of the climate where they’re from and the breeding that they’ve done over the centuries.

John: So, why is this type of wool used in Tibetan rugs versus other types of wool, and what does it create in terms of the way that the rugs feels or looks?

Sam: It’s the finish. You get a very nice velvet feel to it and a really nice sharp silky appearance to it when you wash it properly, that really no other wool rug in the world can achieve. Unless, you’ve got something that I call a Kirk wool, which would be a belly side of a lamb or underneath the neck side of a lamb.

tibetan rug

There’s just something about the wool that is very cool, but the big thing is that you cannot take Tibetan wool any place else in the world and weave it. You can only do it in Nepal and in Tibet. So, they’re not exporting that wool to say the rest of India, or Pakistan, or China, or wherever. They’re weaving it in those areas and basically it’s done by the either the Tibetans themselves from China or the Tibetan refugees in Nepal.

John: So, if you’re getting a Tibetan rug, then you’re getting a rug that was made there in Tibet, is that right?

Sam: Yes, I wouldn’t say 100% but as a whole, yes.

How to Use Tibetan Rugs In Your Home 

John: So, can Tibetan rugs be used also in your home for just more than floor coverings? How else can someone display a Tibetan rug in their home?

Sam: Yes, I actually do [have one.] I have one on my walls as well because it’s a dragon carpet, and I think it just came off so cool as a textile. And you could definitely use it as a wall piece. I’ll say that’s very unusual to see that in most homes. Most Tibetan rugs are very thick, very heavy rugs, so they would probably do better as a floor covering.

John: Okay. Any final thoughts on Tibetan rugs and why somebody would want to consider purchasing a Tibetan rug for their home?

tibetan rugs

Sam: I’m an emotional person in so many ways and the Tibetan people are such beautiful people. I don’t think we’re more blessed than to deal with the Tibetan in the way that they look at life and the way they treat people. They are not people who are going to harm you, they are not people who are going to hurt you, if they can help you they will, but they surely not going to harm you in any way. They are the sweetest, nicest people that you can imagine and you definitely, your heart goes out to them and they have a very simple way of living. They may be very poor but they’re very happy. They’re just a real pleasure to be around. So, I love to support [them] every chance I get just because I really appreciate them as just really solid great people.

John: That’s great and a great reason to go ahead and invest in a Tibetan rug for your home.

Sam: Most definitely, that’s one of the main things for my opinion.

John: All right, well thanks for speaking to me about the Tibetan rugs Sam.

Sam: All right John, my pleasure you know that.

John: For more information about Sam, the Rug Gallery and oriental rugs and carpets, visit or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episode of this broadcast by subscribing on iTunes, and if you can take the time please give us a review on iTunes as well. See you next time on the Rug Gallery.

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