Bidri gets its name from Bidar, Karnataka where it originated when the fort was under construction.
It is a metal handicraft that originated in the 14th century,
during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans.
Bidri in Republic day parade
Bidri Craft has a common ancestry with an older art of inlaying practiced in Arabian countries and Persia – of inlaying gold and silver on steel or copper damascening.
The craft contains complicated sequences of metal inlay on a zinc and tin alloy base.
Bidri has its roots in the Persian technique of inlaying gold and silver on steel and copper.
It travelled from Iran to Ajmer, Rajasthan in 13th Century AD and then to Bijapur and flourished during the reign of the Deccan Sultanate.
It been said that, Abdullah bin Kaiser, a craftsman from Iran was invited by the Sultan
to work on decorating the royal palaces and courts.
According to some accounts, Kaiser joined hands with local craftsmen
and gave birth to Bidriware.
Since then, the craft has been handed down succeeding generations mostly among
the local Muslim and Lingayat sects.
The making of a bidri product involves four steps :
- Melting the alloy
- Casting the article
- Engraving and inlaying the design
The Bidri designs are usually patterns such as the Asharfi-ki-booti, stars, vine creepers
and stylized poppy plants with flowers.
Traditional designs include the Persian Rose and passages from the Quran in Arabic script.
Another interesting post I read on this craft is on Arth Crafts.
Due to its striking inlay artwork, Bidriware is an important export handicraft of India
and is prized as a symbol of wealth.