Friday, August 13, 2010


During our weekend trip to Bidar, we went to a place called chaubara, a typical olden day bazaar where bidriware artisans worked in very old shops. Bidriware is a metal handicraft. The handicraft is supposed to have originated in Iran and patronized by the Deccan rulers from the 15th century. The art is usually handed from generation to generation and is now crafted only in Bidar. ( as told by the artisan)

The artisans in the shop we went to, had an order of making tea coasters for the 2010 Delhi Common wealth games and so they were making it with the name ‘ Delhi 2010’ arched on an edge of a round metal plate of 3 inch diameter. The base metal is an alloy of zinc and copper which is brittle in nature and does not corrode/rust and has an advantage of being polished with just coconut oil. On one side of the plate was a beautiful free hand rangoli pattern drawn and later engraved with a sharp chisel to an appropriate depth ,enough to fit in a thin silver wire. The silver wire is then embedded into the groove by hammering.

Later on a combination of chemicals are applied to the surface of the metal which transforms the metal to jet black. The final polishing with sandpaper and coconut oil sets the silver inlay work in sharp contrast to its satiny black background
Bidriware products are traditionally designed in the form of cosmetic boxes, surahi, vases, paan dabbas in various shapes like recangtle, oval, round, fish, leaf shapes, water jugs, wine decanters, hookahs etc. but with passage of time it has given shape to cigar boxes, ashtrays, cufflink, fruit bowls and now as tea coaster for commonwealth games.

The articles are reasonably priced at the artisans workship compared to the prices at the gift shops at hotels.

The below show piece(black one) costed me Rs. 350 at the artisans place while the same product( same design and size) was sold at the hotel for rs.800.


  1. Hi Its good to see Bidri. do u have some more photographs of Bidri tea coasters for the 2010 Delhi Common wealth games ? if yes plz send those at Bye

  2. There were no finished products there. They were still in the process of making them.


    There is a story in Kannada Prabha News Paper about `Bidri in CWG'

  4. Hyderabad has also a history of making quality bidriware, but on my last visit many artisans were not working on it any more because of the high cost of metals and profit ratio.

  5. Thanks Asha for sharing such wonderful information on an art that is practically reaching point of extinction. Could you pls share the Artist contact details..We are a small gifts and handicrafts company from Bangalore, it would be inspiring for us to market the lovely products. Thanks for any help that you can offer! pls mail at - Annapurna

  6. Hi. I need information on Bidri work for a school project. I would really like to talk to some artisans for some first hand information. Or at least places i can visit in Mumbai to study it. If you could provide me the details, it could be of great help.