Bidriware: The Craft of Metal and Mud

This article was written by Sakshi Jain and published originally on Nazariya.
Bidriware is a  handicrafts which recognises itself as the symbol of Wealth and grandeur.

The Techniques Involved in Bidriware:

 The term Bidriware originates from the township of Bidar. Bidar is the chief ‘headquarters’ for the creation of this form of metalwork. The intricacy involved with Bidriware designs makes it a popular choice for exported crafts as well. Blackened alloys of zinc and copper are the ingredients used to make Bidriware. A sheet of silver is also applied to prevent oxidation.

The soil used in the making of Bidriware is that which is native to Bidar. The soil used is tasted by craftsmen in order to tell its purity and suitability. The low levels of exposure that the soil has to sunlight and rain give it great oxidising properties. One must be experienced to tell whether the kind of soil being used is suitable or not, and the skills are passed on from generation to generation.

Bidriware fuses metals and mud to create products that are distinct and ornate. Image Courtesy: LBB Bangalore


Origin, Historical Records

Bidriware originates in ancient Persia. It came to India through the followers of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. The form draws influences from Turkey, Persia and several Arab countries. The oldest record of practitioners of Bidriware mention Abdullah bin Kaiser, who was a craftsman from Iran. Sultan Ahmed Shah Bahmani invited the artisan to his court to provide creative assistance in the decoration of his palace.  Kaiser joined hands with local craftsmen and give birth to Bidriware under the rule of second Sultan Alauddin Bahmani. The art expands markedly and handed over to succeeding generation with time.

The metalwork involved in Bidriware is tedious and often very detailed. Craftsmen etch ornate patterns into the objects made. Image Courtesy: Kaveri Ponnapa

Persons and Organizations 

1. 700 artisans, including a few women in Bidar city, still continue to create Bidriware artifact.

2. Anees Ahmed  is succeeding his family tradition and still working as bidri artisan

3.  Rehaman Patel – An artist based in Gulbarga has done an extensive research in Bidri Art collecting all evidence historical background of bidri.

4. Victoria and Albert Museum in London also have some collection on Bidriware.


A store featuring several Bidriware products. Apart from being sold, Bidriware is also exhibited at a host of Museums across the country. Image Courtesy: LBB Delhi

Bidriware Museums:

To encourage the Bidri artwork many Exhibitions and Museums have been established across the country. These showcase a plethora of objects created using the technique. Some of these are as follows:

1. Salarzang Museum, Hyderabad

2. National Museum, New Delhi

3. Indian Museum, New Delhi

4.District Archaeology and Museum, Nizamabad.

5. Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay.

Intricate and effortful art forms such as the Bidriware prove how craftsmanship in the Indian context comes with a necessity for patience and detail. The quality of most Indian handicrafts are determined through the level of detail involved, and hence, Bidriware stands in esteem among the diverse range of crafts that exist across the country.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.