Tibetan Carpet Master - Yongliang Yang

Tibetan Carpet Master - Yongliang Yang

"As long as they're willing to learn, I will pass on everything I know." The responsibility of inheritance seems to sit on the shoulders of one man - Yongliang Yang (杨永良).

Thanks to some generous friends and artisans met along the way, we had the good fortune of meeting and interviewing master Yang, who welcomed us into his home with open arms. While his wife prepared local dishes for us, we got to chatting and he began to share his story:

As early as the age of 8 or 9, Yang had begun to help his father here and there with the carpet making, initially only with the twisting of yarn. What began as a curiosity had led him down a similar path as those family members before him and he is now the seventh generation perfecting this craft. Yang is now recognized as a national inheritor of Tibetan carpet making.

It was said at the time, there were about 500 families living in the Jiaya village and the Tibetan blanket was such an integral part of everyone’s life that all were spending 24/7 by the loom.

With the onset of industrialization, however, and the mass exodus of the Chinese population from rural to urban centers, finding the next generation of apprentices remains the biggest challenge.

Although his children have also chosen a different path, Yang’s optimism persists, and has sought out alternative ways to teach and share his knowledge about Tibetan carpet making. He has taught over 300 students through the vocational college, and now with the support of the government, he is able to train more through short-term, intensive bootcamps (20 days).

Just like the sunflower that sprouts from his garden walls, Yang is that ray of hope ensuring the future inheritance of this ancient craft - “even through the darker days, he will stand tall and follow his guiding light.”

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