BREAKING NEWS FROM NEPAL!
After a long journey from the bailing room in Sandpoint to the high Himalayas of Nepal, our first hand knotted sample rugs made exclusively from Snowmass Alpaca fiber have arrived. They are everything we expected and more. This is the first time in history that the Nepalese people have ever worked with alpaca and is the beginning of a wonderful relationship.
The journey began with a precious load of 24 bales 6,480 lbs of Snowmass Alpacas fiber. The bales were loaded onto a truck container and then sealed at the Snowmass Alpaca Ranch in Sandpoint Idaho. They were then transported to Los Angeles, CA. When the bales arrived in Los Angeles, the container was loaded onto a shipping vessel headed for Singapore. After arriving in in Singapore, the vessel continued on another leg the port of Kolkata, India. In Kolkata, India, the container cleared Indian customs and was loaded on a train to Birgunj, Nepal. In Birgunj, the container cleared Nepalese customs the bales were taken by truck to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Finally, the fiber arrived at Kumari Rugs in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, a suburb and a historic ethnic "Newar" community.
Advantages of Tibetan Hand-Knotted Rugs and Tapestries from Nepal:
- Made with 100% natural fibers.
- The entire process is completed by hand, knot by knot.
- Serve as great insulator and noise dampener.
- Repels dirt and is easy to clean.
- Hand Knotted rugs and tapestries are pieces of art that can be passed down as an heirloom for many generations.
- Each hand-knotted rug is truly one of a kind!
About Snowmass and Kumari Rugs and Tapestries
Our Alpaca rugs and tapestries are handmade in Nepal by Nepalese and Tibetan artisans. This is the first time Tibetan style rugs and tapestries will be introduced in Alpaca fibers. For many centuries, Tibetans have been weaving rugs for the use in their house as bed sets, saddle blankets for horses, carpets for prayer halls, and pillar covers and wall hangings in the monasteries. Thus, rugs formed an integral part in the lives of Tibetans who have to endure harsh weather conditions in the vast and high Himalayan plateaus.
After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, hundreds of thousands of Tibetans escaped and took refuge in parts of India and Nepal. Gradually, they settled and formed communities all across the region; with their propensity for trade and their amiable nature, they blended in cordially with the native inhabitants of Nepal and India. Pretty soon, bustling bazaars and lively neighborhoods began springing up with a distinct flair of Tibetan hospitality and cultural identity. Under the leadership of their charismatic and revered leader the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan refugees extended their culture and tradition into means of livelihood and profession: sculpturing, architecture, painting etc. Among these, the art of rug weaving proved very beneficial for many Tibetans who were skilled and well-versed in that area of trade. Thus, Himalayan Rugs were introduced to Nepal.
The history of rug industry in Nepal began when the first Tibetan settlers started to sell their rugs, either antique or otherwise, to curious tourists. While earning their livelihood with different skills of arts in a new land, these hard working Tibetan refugees received the support of the Swiss government and began a cottage industry of rug weaving in the early 1960s. This industry was intended to meet the growing tourist trade in Nepal.
The rugs produced were hand carded, hand-spun, and hand trimmed using only traditional designs in smaller sizes. This process of rug making still continues today in Nepal.
In the late 70's, German rug dealers came to Nepal and began purchasing rugs in larger sizes and in volume. Subsequently, the German market became the hub of distribution for unique Tibetan rugs throughout Europe. Due to the high demand of European buyers in mid 80's, Tibetan rug production in Nepal became the nation's second leading industry. Later on, leading U.S. importers began to buy Tibetan rugs made in Nepal, with specific design and colors for the U.S. market. The rug industry in Nepal has come quite a long way from its early days of small bazaar sales to now large scale industrial production. At present, Tibetan rugs have become a leading commodity within the hand made floor-covering market in both Europe and in the U.S., and still continue to grow with fame and popularity to other parts of the world.
Snowmass Alpacas is very excited and proud to be the first to introduce Alpaca fiber to the people of Nepal and Tibet.
Please stay tuned for updates on the progress of the Snowmass/Kumari project.