Persian Mashad Rugs / Meshad Rugs – Located not far from Isfahan, Mashad is famed for its many great works of classical Persian architecture. But although the region around it also produces high quality wool, it does not appear to have become a major rug-producing city until the late nineteenth century. Since then it has come to occupy an important place in the Persian rug industry, serving as a market not only for its own products but for those woven in the regions all around it.
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Mashad carpets have been produced mostly in larger sizes, and they are unusual in utilizing both symmetrical and asymmetrical knotting woven often in an extremely fine density. They tend to be made in allover as well as medallion designs, at times resembling classic Kerman carpets, but with a deeper, darker palette. Mashad can also claim a number of famed design masters.
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. Mashad itself 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.
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.