The historic town of Bidar is famous for more than its architecture. The ancient art of Bidri was born here, during the rule of the Bahmani sultans. It is said that Abdullah bin Kaiser, a craftsman who came from Iran on the Sultan’s invitation to decorate Bidar’s royal buildings, developed this art along with the local artisans. Bidriware is made with a blackened alloy of zinc, inlaid with thin wires of pure silver. First, a molten alloy of zinc and a little copper is poured into moulds, and hardened to various shapes.
The shapes formed are smoothed and covered with a temporary black coating. Intricate motifs are engraved on it, and silver wires are hammered into them.
The surface is smoothed thoroughly and it turns silvery white all over, including the zinc areas.
The surface is then heated, and saline mud from the dark regions of the Bidar fort that is unexposed to sunlight, is rubbed onto it. This to selectively darken the body, but not the silver inlay. The paste is washed away, some oil is rubbed on the surface, and tada!! Gleaming new bidriware is ready 🙂