Tiger Skin Rug - Tibet rugs

What Are Some Common Tiger Rug Designs?  The nomadic or urban Tibetan rug weaver would characterize the tiger motif in a number of action-symbolic settings. In one class of motif the Tiger rug depicts several apparently young tigers with a fish attached to their claws, mouths open and eyes bright and concentrative, suggesting that the tigers were soon to be fed.

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Given the tigers' reputation for predation upon the villages and nomad encampments of Asia , the rug weaver is addressing a core fear of Tibetans by weaving metaphorically the deliver of food to the tiger other than human sacrifices.

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In a step towards increasing abstraction and cultural desire for control over fears of the unknown and the terrible as symbolized by the tiger, the weaver of the Tiger rug might introduce a flayed tiger skin design onto the orange backdrop. Now, at last, the rural artisan in an act of will and retribution is subjugating the tiger and its spirit.


As weavers naturally extended the Tiger rug design into perhaps higher level abstractions, the tiger as earlier rendered in a more literal manner gave way to an Oriental rug design which carried an overall abstract zigzag pattern derivative of the tiger's skin placed against a saffron color background. In so doing the weavers drew the same references of symbolic power held once again by a supernatural force symbolized by the traditionally spirit invoking saffron color. This tiger rug striping design often includes a gul like design medallion element in an opposing color such as blue. This medallion element may repeat itself three times or more and appears to be of Central Asian origins. Similarly a fleur-de-lis ornate design also derivative of Central Asia felt design finds its way in certain Tiger rug products.

The fears and realities of rural life were bound up in alternative Oriental rug designs to the Tiger rug design. Human skulls, skeletons ringed by a perimeter of deep red suggested violence, blood and death with a possible sentencing or punishment to torture in a Hellish hereafter.

In day-to-day Tibetan society, very few Tiger rug creations ended up for use as a floor carpet, unless specially created for a monastery or a government building. More prevalent was the use of Tiger rug as a saddle rug, door rug, window rug or perhaps a sitting rug. Important guests would always sit upon two rather than one rug as a show of respect. Historically perhaps as few as 200 genuinely antique Tiger rug creations are held by collectors and museums. The majority of present day Tiger rug creations are considered modern and derivative, more closely influenced by Chinese rug design features and color palettes.

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