Meshad Rug

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Meshad Rug
Design of Meshad Rug (Rugman)
General information
NameMeshad Rug
Original nameقالی مشهد
Alternative name(s)Meshad Carpet
Origin Iran: Khorasan
Technical information
Common designsMedallion, Afshan
Common colorsCrimson, Ultramarine, Cream, Navy Blue, Brown, Green, Pink, Yellow
Dyeing methodNatural, Synthetic
Pile materialWool, Silk
Foundation materialCotton
Knot typeAsymmetrical (Persian), Symmetrical (Turkish)

Meshad Located in Northeastern Iran, Meshad is an important center of the carpet weaving industry. It is also considered the most holy city of Iran. This is because it holds the shrine of Imam Reza who is very dear to Muslims around the world. Meshad carpets are usually bright and cleverly colored therefore litteraly giving life to any dull room. Their color schemes are usually tones of red or blue. Meshad carpets are very well made and they will last a very long time, as would any other persian rug.


Meshad, also spelled Mash-had, is a city located in the Khorasan Province of northeastern Iran. Meshad is an ancient city and was once the capital of Persia's Greater Khorasan Province. It is a holy place and a destination for Shia Muslim pilgrims making their way to the tomb of Imam Reza, located in the center of the city. The tomb of the famous patriotic poet Ferdowsi (935— tozo CE) is located in Tus, near Meshad.
Meshad was once a trade center for Russia and Turkestan in the north, Afghanistan to the east, and India from the southeast. It should be noted that the ancient city of Herat, an important weaving city, was part of the Greater Khorasan Province, not far from the city of Meshad.
Meshad-woven carpets from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries have floral designs and are beautiful in coloration. The carpets are known in the trade, museum installations, and exhibitions as Khorasans. They are woven on a cotton foundation with a wool pile. The Persian (asymmetric) knot was used in weavings. Another knotting technique applied by weavers in Khorasan is the Jufti knot, which dates to the sixteenth century. This method is used to weave carpets more rapidly and is done by employing four warp threads instead of the normal two to make a knot in the carpet.
The city of Meshad had the resources and capability to produce fine wool, good dyeing methods, and artistically designed cartoon drawings. A popular design choice from that period was the Shrub design. The Shah Abbas medallion with palmette, leaf, and vine motifs, Chahar Bagh (bird's-eye view of a four-part garden), Herati (fish), and other designs were also woven. Today these carpets are in the possession of museums and private collections.
In the nineteenth century, many overseas merchants from Russia, India, America, and Europe installed representatives in Meshad. In the American market from this period until World War II, Meshad carpets were called "Isfahan" for better marketing purposes. Meshad designs had similarities to the floral Shah Abbas motifs and red-blue color background of original seventeenth- to eighteenth-century Isfahan weavings. This design and coloration was the main style produced in Meshad carpets in the nineteenth century.
During the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, some Meshad master weavers, such as Altighechi, Amoghli, Makhmal-Boft, Saber, and Zarrineh, went on to produce high-quality room-size carpets, signing their work. Some of these master weavers were originally from the city of Tabriz. The Tabriz weavers also introduced the Turkish (symmetric) knot to produce a more compact and dense fabric well suited to the foreign export market. Carpets woven in the Turkish technique was referred to as "Turkboft" in Farsi by Meshad merchants to help distinguish from original Meshad weaves produced for generations. Their designs have delicate Shah Abbas palmette, leaf, and vine motifs with either a medallion or allover style. A small percent-age was made in Mihrab (prayer arch) or Tree of Life designs. Most of these Meshad master woven carpets were made with a unique, flatwoven silk selvage, between one to two inches wide, on the length sides of the carpet. These weavings were successful and were in demand by the nobility and high-ranking officials in Persia. It should be noted that some rugs with a silk foundation and a silk pile, as well as silk SOUF (brocade) rugs and carpets, were also made by master weavers. Many high-quality pieces from these masters are signed and otherwise usefully inscribed.
In the 1920s, during the start of the Pahlavi period, the new government commissioned large quantities of carpets. Two Meshad master weavers, Saber and Amoghli, were chosen to weave large palace- and gallery-size carpets for hotels being developed by the government in northern Iran. These carpets were ordered by the shah and super-vised by monarchy officials.
The Meshad carpet industry grew rapidly and provided a great source of income for weaving families. The city has one of the largest carpet bazaars in Iran, and is a center of trade for selling products domestically and for exportation. Antique Khorasan and Baluch rugs are traded in the Meshad bazaar. Baluch rugs from throughout the Khorasan Province are marketed here. Cities such as Azghand, Birjand, Dorokhsh, Gonabad, Sabzevar, and other Khorasan towns bring weaving products to the Meshad bazaar for better marketing opportunities.
Meshad carpet coloration generally has a red-blue or pomegranate-red (from cochineal) background, but a small percentage has dark blue or ivory fields. These colors are interchangeable with the border and medallion. In addition to these colors, different shades of blues, greens, gold, grays, cinnamon, and browns are used for the palmettes, flowers, leaves, vines, stylized motifs, and minor borders. By the late twentieth century, some Meshad carpets were woven with unusual field colors. Meshad weavings are made in formats ranging from small pillows to palace-size carpets. The rugs were produced and marketed for all budgets. Signifi-cantly, a very finely woven circa 1970 Meshad carpet sized twenty-four feet eight inches by sixteen feet five inches sold at Christie's London auction house for £133,250 ($214,533) on April 5, 2011.[1]

See also

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  1. Moheban, 2015, 381-384


  1. Abraham Levi Moheban. 2015. The Encyclopedia of Antique Carpets: Twenty-Five Centuries of Weaving. NewYork: Princeton Architectural Press.