This impressive nonprofit enterprise aims to bolster traditional Tibetan handicrafts in the face of rising Chinese and Nepali imports. Products are unique and of high quality, and they are made using traditional techniques (natural dyes, wool not acrylic etc) updated with contemporary designs. Ask about the two-hour artisan walking tour of Lhasa’s old town (¥50 per person, minimum five people).
Artefacts for sale include woolly carpets (¥2250) from the Wangden region of southern Tsang, silver jewellery from Tingri, Tibetan aprons, leather appliqué bags, cuddly toys and impossibly soft yak-cashmere scarves. Prices are fixed, with proceeds going back to artisans in the form of wages and social funds.
They also arrange interesting day classes on thangka painting (¥600 per group, plus ¥100 for materials) and a half-day introduction to mani stone carving (¥50 per person). Book at least the day before.
Foreign currency and credit cards are accepted and it can arrange international shipping with China Post. A smaller branch is conveniently located opposite the Yak Hotel.