What is Bidri?

Bidriware is a metal handicraft from Bidar. It was developed in the 14th century C.E. during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans.The term 'Bidriware' originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the chief centre for the manufacture of the unique metalware.Due to its striking inlay artwork, Bidriware is an important export handicraft of India and is prized as a symbol of wealth. The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc and copper inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver.


The craft of Bidri or inlay on metal originated in Persia, the motifs are leaves and floral designs of Persian and Mughal art, executed with the delicacy as seen in Mughal designs. In India the craft had originated in Bidar (Karnatak) and then spread to Hyderabad and Andhra.

Hailing from the Bidar town of Karnataka, Bidri flourished under the patronage of the Nizam of Hyderabad. During his tenure, Bidriwork spread throughout his kingdom, including Aurangabad, and even the common folk started taking pride in buying Bidri.


Bidri is prepared by inlaying real silver on blackened alloy of zinc and copper. It requires old, black mud, which is getting difficult to find. We try and get it from the Daulatabad area where the mud is 200 years old,"

The base metal(black) is a combination of Zinc with Copper which are gently heated together to be smeared with sal ammoniac subsequently. The complex process of bidriware includes casting, engraving, inlaying and polishing. The entire process is either performed by one person or are shared by various artisans specialized in respective areas. The items are first cast in moulds made from clay, sand, resin and oil. A simple chisel, of varied shapes and sizes, is then used to engrave the design. Silver metallic wire in then laid in the engaved area. The item is then cleaned and polished to be finally put in copper sulphate solution which gives it the dark colour.


Today cigarette cases, huqqa bases, bowls, boxes, candle stands, trays, ashtrays, vases, jewellery, buttons ,cufflinks , jewllery cases and other utensils can also be found of this exclusive craft.