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Fazle Kareem Mustafa


BIDRI  : This art of silver inlay on metal has always kept historians guessing. Various accounts exits about it’s about its origin and entry into India and subsequently Telengana.  If one were to believe the craftsman themselves, they say that art originated in Iran seven centuries ago. It was brought down by migrants. Zealously guarde by its practitioners the art has successfully expressed the experiences of the Sufis, the aesthetic value of the moghuls and the yearning of warriors to decorate their ornaments of valour- swords, daggers, lances and shields. Today, Bidri has been aptly contemporaised producing cufflinks, name plates and more. But always retaining the old grandeur that won the heart of many king , warrior scholar and commoner.

Boardly speaking, there are four main stages in the manufacture of bidri they are (1) casting (2) engraving (3) inlaying and (4) oxidising. The articles are cast with the help of moulds of red clay into which the molten solution of copper and zinc prepared in the ration of 1:6 is poured. The surface of the rough cast of the articles is filed and smoothened with sand paper and then rubbed with a solution of copper sulphate to impact a dark to provide a suitable base for the next stage of tracing the design and engraving. The designs are traced by hand, by the craftsmen with the help of chisels, next pure silver wire or sheet (gold in rare case) is hammered into the grooves or the designs and the surface smoothend with the help of sand paper and files or with the help of buffing machine. In the ultimate interesting state, the articles are heated gently and treated with a solution of sal- ammoniac and earth taken from old fort building which has the effect of making the entire surface turn jet black providing a distinct contrast to the shining silver inlay.

It is this contrast that lends bidri a uniqueness that no other metal ware could possibly claim. Oil is rubbed on the piece to deepen the black matt coating.

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