Tibet (& Nepal): Modern Tibetan rug-making started after the invasion of Tibet by Chinese Communist forces in 1950. Prior to that time, rugs made in Tibet were used by the people making them for floorcoverings, seat cushions, wall-hangings, and horse saddles. Rugs were woven for monasteries where monks used them to cover their prayer benches during religious ceremonies. During the 1950's, many Tibetans, including the wealthy, aristocrats who sponsored weaving activities, fled to India and Nepal, and the monasteries shut down. After 1959, when the insurrection against the Chinese Communists that began in 1956 was quashed, rural weavers remaining in the country were forced to participate in socio-economic projects created by the Communist regime which took them away from weaving to work in other industries. Tibetan refugees in countries like India and Nepal depended on the United Nations for their livelihood and protection. In order to create an industry for themselves, Tibetans began to make rugs in contemporary styles for export to the U.S. and Europe under the guidance of Western producers. Unlike rugs from countries like Iran and Turkey, Tibetan rugs did not display an indigenous style, but rather styles were created to cater to the growing export market. Some of the early contemporary Tibetan rugs were not particularly appealing, lacking good design schemes and attractive colors. As Tibetan rug weaving began to increase in the 1970's, production centered in India and Nepal. Due to the high demand for quality Tibetan rugs, rug-making has become one of the largest industries in Nepal. Over time, Tibetan refugee weavers were joined by native weavers to make rugs in the same style. During the 1980's and 1990's some weaving workshops were reestablished in Tibet, particularly in Lhasa, however, rugs made here are typically for the tourist market or for use in China as gifts to ranking officials within the government. Overall the quality of these rugs has been inconsistent. In Lhasa, there are government sponsored workshops making rugs from imported wool and synthetic dye. While the weaving is competant, the material quality is only fair. There are also independent workshops run by Tibetans who have returned to their country or by foreigners, and these producers are trying to utilize high quality local wool along with good natural or synthetic dyes to produce a high quality product. However, rugs made in both types of workshops struggle to compete with the higher quality Tibetan-style rugs made in India and Nepal. A modest number of rugs from the independent Tibetan workshops have managed to be exported to the U.S. and Europe. During the mid-1990's, Chinese exporters flooded the market with Tibetan-style rugs in an effort to put Tibetan rug makers out of business, however, the quality of these rugs was inferior, and the Tibetan rug makers prevailed. Some Tibetan rug types are referred to as 60 Line and 80 Line, meaning that they are composed of 60,000 and 80,000 knots per square meter, respectively. Modern Tibetan rugs are known for their silk accents and fine, low pile.