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Sanabad was an old city in the northeast of Iran. Its history goes back to more than two millennials. It was an oasis along the silk road and mentioned by some greek historians as an encampment of the Greek army under Alexander the Great on his eastwards quest.
The city's name changed to Mashhad, which means the place of martyrdom after the 8th Imam of Shia Muslims was assassinated by Abbasid Khalif Harun Al Rashid in 818CE.
The city has the second largest population in Iran today and has a large number of carpet weavers who weave some of the finest Persian carpets in Iran.
Mashad is the capital of Khorassan province. The nomadic tribes around Mashad's fertile lands produce quality wool with great lust and sheen. The hand-spun yarn from the thread is the best kind for rugs that helps them last long and age beautifully.
The vintage carpet as the one here is one of such rugs. It was made circa the 1930s in the city of Mashhad and aged gracefully under daily use, and nearly a hundred years later, it still looks marvellous. The weaving technique is characteristic of the Turkish-speaking residents of the city, who are mainly migrants from Azerbaijan.
The rug's design is a classic one with roots in Persian mysticism and goes back to the 16th century when the Safavid dynasty came to power. They were firm believers of Sufism, and to the founders of the kingdom, life was a quest to reach "the complete form" through their "self";
"I have seen my Lord with the eye of my heart, and I said: 'Who are You?' He said: 'You.'"
( Mansur Al-Hallaj)
The medallion in the middle and guarded within the intricate borders is the essential element of the rug as a complete stylised flower. Everything around the rug's field is mainly half blooms that wander and dance toward the medallion, representing the universe's centre, self, love or almighty.
Making a rug like the one here takes about eight months to a year. This rug has a beautiful texture and patin that one can find only in antique rugs that have naturally worn and gained fascinating character and charm.