The city of Mashad is located in the far North East of Iran. It is a highly sacred city for followers of Islam, as it is the home of the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam (a spiritual and political successor of prophet Muhammad). The city is also the birthplace of many celebrated Persian poets, including Ferdowsi, who wrote the national epic ‘Shahnameh’ meaning ‘The Book of Kings’.
The Persian carpet industry accounts for a significant portion of Mashad’s economy and foreign exports. The ‘Topkapi’ Prayer Rug (see below), was woven between 1550 and 1556, and exemplifies the high quality of the regions production. The rug, still in perfect condition.
Typical Designs and Motifs of Mashad Rugs
Typically Mashad rugs will have a central medallion with curvilinear floral corner pieces. They will also feature a curvilinear floral background. There are some Mashad rugs with allover designs but these are more rare.
Materials Used to Weave Mashad Rugs
Mashad rugs are typically woven with a cotton base and woolen pile.
Famous Weavers of Mashad Rugs
Amoghli - One of the most famous weaving families of Mashad and Persia in general, is the Amoghli family. Beginning with the two brothers Abdol Amoghli and Ali Amoghli, the family first flourished during the 20th century gaining the acknowledgement and respect of the royal family of Iran. Shah Reza Pahlavi in particular was extremely fond of the family’s hand-woven rugs. Hence Amoghli rugs can still be found in a number of Palaces across Iran.
Up until the 1920s Amoghli rugs were woven only by the two brothers, Abdol and Ali. An Amoghli rug from this early period is a highly valuable collectors piece. As the popularity and reputation of the family grew, the brothers were later able to expand their production. By the end of the 19th century they had opened 5 workshops, with 300 looms and had hired 1500 employees to help cope with the demand for the brothers’ ever popular designs and styles.
Saber - Master Saber worked with the Amoghli brothers until around 1940, at which point he left to open his own workshop to produce extremely fine rugs of his own. As he was producing on a much smaller scale than the Amoghli brothers his pieces are far rarer today, and thus highly sought after. Saber rugs are still woven today by Master Bazmi, as agreed upon by Saber & his family before his death in 1977.
Examples of Amoghli and Saber rugs can be seen below;
Look out for signed rugs, particularly those carrying the signatures of the Amoghli brothers or Saber.
Amoghli rugs woven between 1900 - 1920 are of particularly high value.