Bidri Art is one of the traditional arts of Karnataka. This metal handicraft which was promted by the Sultans of Bahamani in 14th century c.e., has taken its name from the name of township of Bidar and is known worldwide as Bidri Art. Historically, this art which had its origin in Persia and the Bidri artists produced daily used household vessels, ornate vessels and other items, and also special items that can be used for gifting to guests and visitors. These items, which are known all over the country and abroad as well, have historical and aesthetic value of par excellence.
Historically, the period in which this took its birth and florished is generally considered to be the era of Bahamani Sultans of Gulbarga. To supplement this there are beliefs that this art travelled to our country from ancient Persia where it was originated. It is widely accepted that the followers of renowned Sufi saint KhwajaMoinuddinChisti brought it, when they came to India. However, there are documents to show that the these art-products got conceptualised and their designs developed in Turkestan and the same tradition is being religiously followed here also even today.
According to another source, it is said that to beautify his palace and courts, Allauddin Sultan Bahamani of Gulbarga, brought Abdullah bin Kaiser from Iran and Kaiser with the help of the local craftsmen developed Bidri Art. The local craftsmen of Muslim and Lingayatcommunities who mastered this art, produced exquisite metal wares.
The Bidri products are made of the alloy of Copper and zinc in the ratio 1:16. These products are manufactured by pouring the molten alloy into the pre-formed moulds. This manufacturing process goes through eight technical stages, such as moulding, smoothening by filing, engraving using chisel, etc. Then wires of pure silver is inlayed into them. Finally, they are heated to certain extent and then coloured. For colouring them copper sulphate is used.
Usually the products are black in colour. Required flowery designes are etched on the surface using metal stylus. Silver wires are fitted tightly and hammered into these etchings. The black soil of Bidar helps in giving special black-effect to these art-works. In all, to say, a special technique is develolped by these craftsmen to manufacture these, and develop different varieties.
Artisans working in Bidri art have won several awards. Even today, Bidar houses several artisans who have been rewarded with state and national level honours.
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath has undertaken the task of reviving and rejuvenating this art. And, this programme envisages inviting artists from Bidar, and students from different art college as observers for this bidari workshop Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, with the help of the Government of Karnataka has been organising several such programmes. One such endeavour is conducting a workshop on Bidri Art.