Bidar : Bidriware

Apart from the rich history and architecture that abounds in the city, it is popular for the ancient art of Bidri. The intricate Bidriware craft was born in Bidar, Karnataka. It is said that a Persian craftsman Abdullah bin Kaiser came to the town on the Sultans invitation and developed this art in collaboration with the local artisans.

An amazing amount work goes into the making of each Bidri utensil/article and it is not difficult to imagine why most craftsmen begin work only on order. . Each bidri article has to pass through the processes of casting, polishing/smoothening, engraving, inlaying and blackening of the alloy before the final product is put for sale on the showcase.

The unique feature of these handicrafts is the black colour and it is very interesting how the metal acquires the colour. A special variety of soil which is available only in the unlit portions of the Bidar fort is mixed with salt and water to make a paste which is then rubbed onto a heated bidri surface. This paste selectively darkens the body while it has no effect on the silver inlay. Once the paste is washed of, the silver design shines against the black surface. Finally oil is applied to deepen the matt coating.

(The pictures for the process of blackening havent been shot as the cast piece was made to order of a trophy that had “Flintstones” written on it and didnt look traditional at all)

The Bidri designs are usually patterns such as the Asharfi-ki-booti(which the artisans called Omar-Khayyam), stars, vine creepers and stylized poppy plants with flowers. Traditional designs include passages from the Quran in Arabic script.

More recently cigar boxes, cigarette cases, ashtrays, cuff links, fruit bowls and other necessities of daily use began to find favor with the buyer. A blend of old Persian motifs together with more contemporary designs comprise modern day bidriware.

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