The origin of the name Bidri craft is from the Bidar district of Karnataka. Having originated in Persia, this craft entered Indian Territory back in the 14th century and flourished under the Bahamani Dynasty in Bidar. While gold and silver was traditionally used as inlay over copper or steel for the Persian art form, Bidri work adopted the use of zinc as the primary metal.
The Bidri art form has been given the ‘Geographical Indication’ tag as a mark of certification that states that this particular work of art can be made only in the Bidar region and nowhere else. It is not only the beauty, history, and production technique that lend a mark of significance to this work of art but an ingredient used in the work that is indigenous to the region- soil obtained from the Bidar Fort. A form of black soil, it is an important component for all forms of Bidri art. This can be put down to its special chemical properties, created due to the fact that the soil has remained away from rain and sunlight for many a century. This soil is primarily used as an oxidizing agent.
It is very hard to specify the reason that makes this soil inside the Bidar Fort so unique. The members of the community of Bidri craftsmen have various theories on the subject. A popular claim has to do with the practice of making copper coins in a section of the Fort during the reign of the Sultans in the area. Powdered metal would seep down into the soil, resulting in this oxidizing property being developed over the years. Some others believe that the practice of storing weapons in underground chambers inside the Fort is responsible for this phenomenon.
How are Bidri Handicrafts prepared?
The process of making products in accordance to the Bidri art form involves a number of steps. These are detailed as under.
The end result of all this effort is a product with striking silver highlighted against a black background.0