Inheritor of Tibetan carpet weaving skills embraces market to promote craft’s preservation

(People's Daily Online) 13:49, January 25, 2022

Tibetan carpet is a traditional handicraft from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau with a history of about 3,000 years. In 2006, Jiaya Tibetan carpet weaving skills were inscribed into China’s first group of national intangible cultural heritage items.

Photo shows Jiaya Tibetan carpets. (Photo/Li Jun)

Yang Yongliang is an inheritor of Tibetan carpet weaving skills from the Huangzhong district of Xining, capital of northwest China’s Qinghai Province. Yang started learning to make Tibetan carpets when he was just 9 years old, having been in the trade for over four decades.

The raw materials used for making Jiaya Tibetan carpets include the wool of sheep, yaks, camels and other animals that are endemic to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The threads for carpet making are dyed using plant-based natural dyes under low temperatures, which guarantees that the carpets will become resilient and brightly colored, said the 59-year-old inheritor of the Jiaya Tibetan carpet weaving skills.

Yang said there are more than 10 procedures involved in the manufacturing of Jiaya Tibetan carpets, including selecting the wool, twisting the threads, dyeing the threads, and winding the threads onto cones, among other steps. Elements of both Tibetan and Han Chinese cultures can commonly be seen in the patterns woven into Jiaya Tibetan carpets.

Yang Yongliang makes a selection of sheep’s wool suitable for making Jiaya Tibetan carpets. (Photo/Li Jun)

Tibetan carpets were used by herders in high-altitude regions to keep warm, but nowadays more and more people will use them to decorate their houses, introduced Yang, explaining that it’s necessary for cultural heritage to keep up with the times and embrace innovation so as to spur new vitality.

At present, Yang’s carpet works are displayed at museums, as well as at scenic areas and inside hotel rooms, which has attracted tourists to place orders themselves for the carpet products produced at Yang’s workshop.

As an inheritor of Jiaya Tibetan carpet weaving skills, Yang said an important responsibility for him is to preserve and pass on the craft to future generations, revealing that he will at times invite university students with expertise in fine arts and marketing to help him improve the patterns displayed on the Jiaya Tibetan carpets.

Yang Yongliang works on a section of a Jiaya Tibetan carpet. (Photo/Li Jun)

Yang Yongliang works on a section of a Jiaya Tibetan carpet. (Photo/Li Jun)

(Web editor: Hongyu, Sheng Chuyi)


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