The growing popularity of Tibetan-weave rugs has expanded the design pool of hand-woven rugs dramatically. These rugs are often categorized as “contemporary” or “transitional” whether they have original designs or ones base upon some other tradition. We at Landry & Arcari have produced several rugs based on the rich, but under-appreciated, African textile tradition. If you are in the vicinity of either our Boston or Salem, MA, showrooms, check out these rugs.

Below are three rugs that are African designs interpreted in Tibetan rugs woven in Nepal. All three these rugs are approximately 6 feet by 8 feet 6 inches in size.

The Kuba and Shoowa people of the Democratic Republic of Congo have long been producing exceptional works of art in wood carving and textiles. Of particular interest to are the raffia cloth embroideries. Raffia is a fiber made from a number of species of palm trees indigenous to Africa. The embroideries are small squares incorporating abstract geometric figures, various shades of brown, and variations in texture for the design.

Tibetan rug with a design based on an African textile design.

Our “Shoowa” is a 100 knot rug using Tibetan wool, mohair, and silk. The silk in the rugs shimmers. The striped lines throughout the design are silk.

A Tibetan rug based on an African textile design with a repetetive pattern.

Our “Raphia” is also 100 knot rug also using Tibetan wool, mohair, and silk. However, instead of a large-scale design it emphasizes texture. As in the Kuba inspiration the rug has variations in texture and random placement of color.
Each of the pile diamonds in the design is surrounded by a flat area.

In North Africa we find a different esthetic. The Berber nomads in the Atlas Mountains produce shaggy rugs with random lines. Often these rugs depend on natural wool colors to form the design.

A Tibetan rug with a design based on the rugs of tribal Berber people of North Africa.

Our “Ruafa” rug is a 60 knot rug of 100% Tibetan wool pile. It is not a reproduction of a Berber rug; it is definitely a Tibetan rug. However, it has a simple abstract design that reflects its Berber inspiration. It also has the advantages that its shorter and denser pile is more practical and that it can be made to almost any size.

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