Goan Windows

Shells Window Detail


Interior Goan Window

Goan Window

Mother-of-pearl shell windows

The use of the nacre of the mother-of-pearl shell to cover windows may have originally come to Goa from Gujarat via Bassein and Diu but it took Goan carpenters to perfect the art. Glass came to Goa as late as 1890 and remained an expensive building material well into the 20th century. The nacre of the mother-of-pearl shell was preferred over glass as it allowed for a subdued filtered light to come into rooms of a house while affording privacy. This gave windows in Goan homes a warm translucent look from the outside while cutting off glare on the inside. Superior quality timbers were often reserved for the erection of altars and fine pieces of furniture in Goan houses. The timber used for windows was inferior in comparison. The nacre of the mother-of-pearl, otherwise a waste material, was then cut into lozenge shapes and slid into wooden battens to give windows added value and beauty.

The spiral design was thus always evident and found its way to quilts.

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