Origin: The technique of inlaying silver and gold on steel or copper on a
black background travelled from Iran to Rajasthan in the 13th century
AD,and from there to Bijapur in Karnataka,and flourished during the
reign of the Deccan Sultanate.
Making of the craft: The use of a rust-proof and non-corrosive
alloy base made of zinc and copper was an innovation introduced in
Bidar in northeastern karnataka,which is how the craft got its name.The
making of a bidri product involves four steps-melting the alloy,casting
the article,engraving and inlaying the design and finally,oxidizing.It uses a range of inlaying methods such as tarkashi,using wires;taihnishan,with sheet metal;mehatabi kaam,reversal of surfaces where the design is cut out in sheet metal and is inlaid;munnavat kari,embossed design work.The black colour that is characteristic of bidri ware is achieved bypolishing the article with a mixture of bidari matti,the mud which is fromBidar Fort,ammonium chloride and a resulting mixture called navasaram.Coconut oil is rubbed in to enhance the blackness.
Designs: The designs are influenced by Mughal motifs of geometrical and floral patterns.Verses from the Quran in Arabic script are also used as embellishment.
Tools: Box mould Crucible,Chisels,Tongs,Divider,Lathe machine,Kalam-drawing chisel,Aambur-plier,Engraving tools,Tat patti-wire,drawing die,Hammer,Hacksaw.
Products: Traditional products made are hookah, aftaba, surahi,
ugaldaan, boxes, zalabchi, muqaba or round containers with domeshaped
lids,bedposts and mir-e-farsh or weights to hold down floor