Gangchen Carpets of InnerAsia, Born of their Habitat in the Tibetan Highlands

The Tibetan nomads lived a simple life, high up in the mountains that feel close to the sky. My master weavers and I worked several years with the folks at the village of Namkhaze, which means “Top of the Sky”, in an outstanding weaving center that became one of Khawachen, our production center in Lhasa’s, satellite factories in Tibet. We provided them with thorough and comprehensive training and our exacting specifications.In return, we guaranteed them cash purchase for our Gangchen designs.

 I loved the Namkhaze factory because it was perched up high, close to the sky. When we took a break from work, we drank copious amount of butter tea and gazed down at clouds floating below us. We also had the most spectacular view of the Yamdro Lake, which is said to be shaped like a scorpion. We argued how it is and is not quite the scorpion shape it is supposed to be while relishing a chow-down of their most famous yaksha kampo or dry yak meat. It was so good, the Dalai Lama’s kitchen always had a steady supply of Namkhaze dry yak meat that had perfect texture and taste. The dry meat was easily chewable and disintegrated into a wonderfully savory taste that would satisfy the most discerning epicurean. The reason, according to those who lived there was, “our yaks feed on healthy herbs, and the sun and wind of Namkhaze bring the yak meat’s fiber to perfection.” No one would ever use any hot sauce with dry yak meat from Namkhaze. But if they did and were caught, they would be chased down to Yamdro lake.

What does all this have to do with Gangchen Carpets you may ask? Just look at Andy Wang’s photographs to see the close connection between the beauty of the Tibetan Highlands, the special breed of its Highland sheep, and their fabulous wool fiber. See the source of inspirationfor Gangchen Carpets yourself.

By the way, don’t let the attitude of Namkhaze or the pronunciation of Gangchen intimidate you. Just repeat Gang Chen out loud 108 times. Your final version will be just right and may even win a prize.

Cheers,

Tashi

September 2018

The Horse Caravan to Nurture the Body and the Soul

It was 1954 and I was just 10 when I found myself part of a glorious horse caravan journey from Chamdo to Lhasa, and Lhasa, all the way to Kalimpong, India. Not only was I able to connect first hand with the legendary stories I’d heard throughout my childhood but in the process, I developed a few good ones of my own to share with eager listeners.

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