If you were “into” Tibetan carpets and either lived in, or visited, the Kathamndu Valley in the 1970’s you either personally knew, or at least knew of, ‘Tent Tom’ (Glen) and his Tibetan wife Lhachu. Besides a Swiss backed carpet weaving ‘cooperative’ started in the late 1960’s, Tom was one of the first westerners – the other being Thomas Guta (aka Tom Bol) – to begin a carpet weaving business in Kathmandu using Tibetan weavers to make carpets using the Tibetan knotting technique. Unquestionably they helped pioneer the industry there, and kicked off what was to become a booming business; that is until the Maoist insurrection in the mid 1990’s and the assassination of the King (of Nepal) and nine members of the Royal Family in 2001 that changed things there forever (but that’s a whole two other stories, best left told told elsewhere by other people, as has been).
This beautiful true-to-form copy of a Baotou three piece runner – woven in Bhodinath (a ‘suburb’ of Kathmandu) by a Tibetan weaver using the Tibetan knot, but using cotton for both warp and weft as would be found in a carpet from Baotou / Suiyuan – was made as a special commission by Tom for one of the many colourful characters that called “The Valley” home in those daze (because his original of same was falling apart). The narrow outer edges are adorned with the ‘tigma’ (cross) pattern, hence denoting that the original was almost certainly made for the Tibetan market in the first place. Inside that the main border consist of cartouches filled with various designs, i.e, the endless knot; the ‘running’ swastika pattern; and various flowers / floral displays, etc. The mandala in the reddish-maroon center field, is itself surrounded by flowers, while a floral design also anchors the four corners. All in all a very beautiful carpet.
So for anyone who wants to own a genuine piece of history from the era that was the fledgling carpet weaving industry in Kathmandu, this be it. A 100% guaranteed genuine Tent Tom piece!