Stepped into Tibetan residence, there are some warm and comfortable Tibetan carpets that are particularly appealing, which are named “Kadian”. It is one kind of small Tibetan rug and also one of the essential necessities of the daily life of the people living in Tibet. The raw material fiber of Kadian is long with strong elasticity, and its graphic design is unique, seemed colorful, beautiful and generous. Bright colors and an extensive range of auspicious totems together with the great hand-touching all embodied the charm of the Tibetan Kadian. Additionally, Kadian occupies a place among the world’s three most famous carpets. Moreover, Kadian that is produced in Shigatse and Gyantse is second to none in assorted Tibetan Kadians. As the traditional handicrafts of the people living on Tibetan Plateau, Gyantse Kadian weaving can be dated back to more than 600 years ago. Allegedly, 600 years ago near the Gangbagaxi area of Tibet, the carpet craftwork was spread to Gyantse, and assimilated with the dyeing process of central plains area in Gyantse. Meanwhile, the craftsmen in Gyantse improved and perfected the method of carpet making. This made the Gyantse Kadian has some distinguishing features such as unique texture, precise knitting, durability, bright color and so on.
“Kadian” means the mat covered on the top as per Tibetan language. In general understanding, Kadian refers to Zhongsi. The specifications of Kadian are normally rectangular, 6 feet in length and 3 feet in width. In the production and sales of Kadian, normally it proceeds in pairs and rarely in single piece. There are many kinds of Kadian which can be classified into several types by its diversified arts and crafts and also its usage. Tibetan Kadian was a kind of product with national and local characteristics that evolved and developed on the basis of Wangdan zhongsi. Its weaving method has long been unique creation in the country even the world carpet weaving technology and has yet not lost its status till today. The way of knitting Kadian and its colors as well as the pattern organization are also reflections of Tibetan national and regional characteristics.
Usually, in Tibetan house, there will be a wooden bed placed to make one circuit around the walls or to be at rights angles on either side or three sides of the house. Above the bed is a base pad made of all kinds of hair or flocculent grass and speaking of the practical limits and origins of Kadian, that’s it. Kadian will be laid at the base pad for everyone to sit during the day and sleep at night. When Tibetan people pass by some parks or go out in summer, Kadian can be put directly on the floor as a cushion. Household Kadian has several specifications of which the 3 multiplied by 6 is the most common one. Besides, there are also other sizes including the 2.8 multiplied by 5 and the 2 multiplied by 4. Moreover, in some cultured families with good conditions, there is another way of using Kadian which is one Kadian put on another one, which is similar to chair cushion. The purpose of doing this is to protect the larger one below on one hand, but more important is to show respect for the rich.
An assortment of Kadians is mainly produced in Shigatse area. According to the characteristics of its pattern, Kadian can be roughly divided into five categories involved the river-style, dragon-phoenix style, floor-covered style and enceinte style as well as Gaxueba style. The Kadians knitted with wavy patterns that are taken from the brocade all belong to the river-style. However, not only this type of Kadian referred to brocade, other kinds also resorted to it but not in such a clear and definite way. The dragon-phoenix style is a generic term for all kinds of Kadians with the images of dragon or phoenix on them. Kadian of this style is differentiated in accord with its patterns which are also stemmed from brocade. In the long-term spread, the content of this style formed a regular pattern that cannot do without the images of dragon, phoenix, cloud, flower and water. Formally speaking, it is in reversal symmetry or opposite symmetry bounded on the middle line. When it comes to floor-covered stylish Kadian, its pattern sources turn to be wide and content is really complex including designs taken from Tibetan boots, embroidered clothing of ancient Central Plains and Tibetan architectural decoration as well as Indian silk and brocade, etc. Regardless of its diversified content and style, its artistic forms are almost similar to each other. One of the prominent features of enceinte stylish Kadian is that this kind of Kadian has borders and most are with “T-shape lines”, seemed as an enceinte. By dint of this meaning, Tibetans called all sorts of Kadian with full border patterns the enceinte stylish Kadian.