Located in the province of Khorasan, Mashad is one of the holiest cities in Iran. It is a major pilgrimage site as it houses the shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam, Imam Reza. Because of its location, Mashad is a central market for not only rug weaving but for a good portion of the rug trade. It is a common market place for rugs from surrounding cities and tribal regions, e.g. Birjand, Mood and Ghain, as well as the tribal Baluchis and Turkomans.
Most Mashad rugs are now woven in workshops, although some home weaving still takes place. Usually Mashad rugs have a curvilinear and medallion design which is common in many styles of Persian rugs. Pictorials, representations of historical or other important events, are sometimes used.
One of the most common styles is the Shah Abbasi, a pattern of medallions and pendants. A different style of Mashad rug is called Herati, and this style can be very different from the bold colors of other Mashad rugs. Lighter shades of beige and brown are dominant. These rugs are sometimes called Khorasan, after the province, as are many rugs that are less identifiable as being from a particular city.
Mashad rugs are often compared to Kashan rugs, mostly because of the extremely long corners seen in both styles. The Shah Abbasi style of Mashad rugs is similar to the Kashan Shah Abbasi diamond medallion design. The circular medallion design is often very similar between Mashad and Kashan, however, the medallions are usually more circular in Mashad rugs and more pointed in Kashan.
The colors are usually red for the background and blue for the border and medallion design. The use of only red and blue makes this type of rug easily recognizable. A variety of colors may be used for the motif, and the overall color scheme is usually bold and strong.
Mashad rugs are usually large, and most weavers use Persian knots, although Turkish knots are sometimes found.