Tibetan rug making is an ancient, traditional craft. Tibetan rugs are traditionally made from Tibetan highland sheep's wool, called changpel. Tibetans use rugs for many purposes ranging from flooring to wall hanging to horse saddles, though the most common use is as a seating carpet. A typical seat carpet measuring around 3ftx5ft (0.9m x 1.6m) is called a khaden.
The process of making a tibetan rug is unique, the knotting method is different from that used in many other rug making traditions worldwide. With the introduction of modern technology some aspects of the rug making processes have been taken over by machine, in particular yarn spinning and trimming of the pile after weaving. This is primarily because of cost, disappearance of knowledge etc. Nevertheless, the finest carpets are those still made in the traditional method, by hand.
With Tibet's occupation by Chinese communists during the 1950s, Tibetan refugees started migrating to India and Nepal. With them they also brought their knowledge of rug making. Currently in Nepal the rug business is one of the largest industries in the country and there are many rug exporters. Tibet also has weaving workshops, but the export side of the industry is relatively undeveloped compared with Nepal and India.