For centuries Tibetans have woven rugs as bedding, prayer mats and saddle blankets. When China took control of Tibet in 1959, the Dalai Lama left his country and crossed into neighboring Nepal. Many Tibetans followed his path and settled in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. There are about ten thousand of these people remaining in Nepal today, while thousands of others have immigrated to the US and other western countries. In order to make a living in this new country, the Tibetan refugees in Nepal began weaving carpets. Even today, Tibetan culture and art still thrives in this newfound homeland.