India, possibly Cambay, Gujarat

XVII century

Cotton; loose silk polychrome threads; cotton filament filling.

Inventory sheet

Godrim is an appropriate term from the original Indian that designates a quilt. This piece consists of two cotton canvases, joined by embroidery stitches, with a filament filling that gives it relief and comfort. The embroidery is carried out predominantly in back stitch, with decorative motifs of a vegetal nature, exotic birds, cruciform designs, knights dressed in Portuguese style and, in the central medallion, a pelican.

Indian textiles, and particularly these godrins, exerted enormous fascination when Vasco da Gama presented them at court, upon returning from his first trip. This pleasure quickly converted into orders from the wealthier classes, transforming them into objects of luxury and ostentation.

The demand was due to its aesthetic quality and the successful crossing between East and West: from the East, the raw material, the technique, the symbolic and decorative elements; from the West, Portuguese symbolic values (heraldic and others). They also responded to various requirements: covering beds, canopies, decorating walls of homes or churches, decorating balconies or providing comfort to platforms on solemn days.

These pieces were predominantly produced in Cambaia, in the Gujarat region, and were transported annually in large numbers by the Carreira da India ships through Goa, in the then Portuguese State of India.