Saturday, February 14, 2015


Thought behind the thought:
A friend of mine was visiting India after almost two decades of nomadic existence. This person has practically got wheels for heels and just does not remain in one city for long. He has travelled the world on some illustrious assignments and continues to do so. We got talking and he asked me the question I dreaded all morning, “So, what do you do? Where have you been? I answered with my usual nonchalance, “Guess what, I have been right where I always was, haven't even changed my pin code in last four decades”! He stopped looked at me quizzically and then he said something that changed my perspective of looking at me and my life forever. He said, “At least you BELONG somewhere.

About the art: 

Sometimes art too belongs to a place. It cannot be simply learnt and practiced elsewhere. Bidri art is a handicraft of historical importance and hails from the city of Bidar in Karnataka, India. King Allauddin Shah of the Behmani dynasty in the 14th Century was the patron and promoter of Bidri art. He was instrumental in bringing master craftsmen from Iran and Kirman and training local artisans in the historic city of Bidar. He was also involved in creating a marketplace for Bidri craft. Bidriware has become synonymous with Bidar and the art is rooted to the place of its discovery.

Range of Bidri products such as plates, bowl, jewellery box, bangles and clock.

Decorative Bell designed with poppy plants and flowers in Taihnishan work.

Bangles in Bidri artwork

Swan with simple design motifs

Intricately designed floral motifs in blend of silver and golden glitters

Bidri art has gained the Geographical Indication tag to certify that this product cannot be made anywhere else except Bidar. This is because artisans use blackened mud from the caves inside the Bidar fort to prepare the base material. This mud has not been exposed to sunlight for centuries and has some special chemical qualities. Bidriware cannot be made without this mud. Artisans prepare moulds of zinc and copper and etch beautiful designs on the surface. Silver wires or plates are hemmed in to the designs and the item is immersed in a chemical solution. This gives the body a distinct black colour to the mould. The shining silver pattern stands out in the black background. The black colour does not fade at all. The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad has Bidri artefacts that are over 500 years old. Many Royal families own exquisite Bidri artefacts and furniture.

Information and photos credits:
Photos: Gopichand T.

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