Persian Mashad Rugs / Meshad Rugs – The Persian city of Mashad, which is situated next to Isfahan, boasts some of the many Persian classic architecture. Antique rugs and carpets produced in Mashad in the traditional style are notable for several reasons, and are relatively easily identified based on several different characteristics. First, Meshad rugs tend to be larger pieces. They also tend to feature a large, elaborate central medallion – a characteristic that is not unique to Mashad rugs, but that is nevertheless important. Further, Meshad rugs tend to possess a certain softness, especially compared to other Khorassan rugs – the quality of the wool used by the rug-makers of Mashad is second to none. Known for their beauty and their quality, which is assuredly second to none, Meshad rugs remain very desirable in the rug world of today, centuries after they were first woven.
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Antique Persian rugs range tremendously in style and design, a result of the long and important rug-making tradition that has been part of Persian society for centuries.
Almost every region of Persia (which is coterminous with modern day Iran) has its own particular style and method for weaving fine rugs and carpets, and it can be amazing to behold this tremendous range. Among the traditional styles of Persian rugs, one of the most interesting is the Mashad (or Meshad) style, which is itself a Khorassan style. The city of Mashad is a holy city in the Iranian province of Khorassan (from which the Khorassan style derives its name), which is situated in eastern Iran. Mashad is particularly important to practicing Muslims, as it was home the eighth Imam, who died and was buried there. Millions make the pilgrimage to Mashad every year.
History and Culture of Mashad Rugs
Khorsassan, which means the land of the rising sun in Farsi, is the largest of Iran’s provinces. The names Khorassan or Mashad are used interchangeable with the latter meaning a finer woven, shorter clipped Khorassan.
Second to Isfahan, Mashad is often described as the most beautiful city in Persia and as a religious shrine; it is also considered the most important. The town is rich in agriculture and one of the best wool producing regions in the Persian rug world.
The weave of Khorassan rugs is completely different from others and combined with the use of blue weft, makes it an easy antique rug to identify. The breadth of the design is varied ranging from allover to medallion patterns. Larger oversized rugs with floral motifs and finely drawn Herati designs were also common.
The dyes in the Mashad rugs have typically been cochineal and sometimes this can look like a deep magenta. In some instances when the cochineal dye has been used liberally a purplish cast appears over the entire rug. These rugs are supremely decorative and highly desirable, and represent a unique and exciting development in Persian rug weaving.