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The unique handwoven textiles of the nomads from Kharnak in Changthang, Ladakh

Some of our passion textiles truly are the handspun and handwoven carpets from the people of Kharnak in Ladakh.

They are all woven on portable backstrap looms using yak wool and sheep wool and there are three different types of weaves.

The two oldest ones are both flatweaves.
The flatweaves using 4 shafts are called pherri and snambu.
The latter is used for clothing and the pherri is a heavy blanket for the cold weather in Kharnak. Much more complex to set up, the weave is traditionally a twill weave and the designs are added in the weft but can also be added in the warp such as different colors.
yak wool rug made in ladakh handwoven
handwoven yak wool rug handspun and naturally dyed wool yarn
Above: Pherri woven with yak wool and naturally dyed sheep wool. Below: Snambu naturally dyed with lac and the process of weaving it.
ladakhi handwoven snambu fabric naturally dyed with lac
weaving of the traditional fabric snambu
The carpets woven with only two shafts are made by both women and men. The finished textiles are called challi, dral-den or also nugal.
The designs are created in the warp and mostly, the weft is just one color.
Men weave yak hair and goat hair into fabrics for outdoor carpets and the yak hair tent. Women use wool and weave indoor mattresses.
The same fabric in different weights is used for outdoor blankets, storage bags and shepherds bags and even belts.
typical ladakhi flatweave wool carpet made from sheep wool and naturally dyed sheep wool
close up of traditional ladakhi carpet woven by changthang nomads
Above: Panels of "Challi" stitched together. Below: Weaving of the yak hair tent

changpa nomad weaving fabric for the traditional handwoven yak wool hair tent called reibo
traditional changthang yak wool hair tent called reibo handwoven in kharnak
The third weave is the pile weave for making textiles such as “tsug den” and “tsug dul”.
It is like an extra weft technique where the yarn is looped around a rod and then cut to create a fluffy, thick feel. These carpets have become much more popular in the last 50 years. Here, the design is only created in the weft.
handwoven soft tsug den carpet a traditional textile of ladakh
traditional soft ladakhi wool carpet naturally dyed and handwoven by kharnak nomads
small handwoven tsug den yak wool ladakhi carpets traditional textiles of ladakh changthang
Find all our handwoven carpets here.

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