Sunday, January 08, 2006

To Wear A Piece Of Art

The pic is from from where you can buy these.
What you see in the pic is an example of Bidri ware. The art originated in Bidar, the north-most district of Karnataka. It is said to be a purely Indian innovation of a 500- year old Persian craft.

Bidriware is cast with an alloy of zinc, copper and other non-ferrous metals. Beautiful floral patterns are first drawn freehand and then engraved with a chisel. Pure silver wires are inlaid on the casting which is then soaked in a solution mixed with the soil of Bidar fort which has special oxidising properties. This causes the zinc alloy to turn a lustrous black, leaving the silver inlay intact to contrast stunningly with the black background.

The Bidriware ranges from boxes, vases, goblets, hookas, jewellery, ashtrays, animal figures, etc. Like most art forms in India, this is also not given the encouragement and publicity it deserves. Hyderabad advertises it as its own indigenous art as Bidar is closer to Hyderabad than it is to Bengaluru.

We have this really tall vase at home that is in need of some polish. A few years ago, I bullied my lecturer (also a personal friend) Pattabhi sir to part with a box that sits pretty on my table back home. This time when I was in Bangalore, the Cauvery Emporium (the state managed art and craft store) had a live demo of how these are made. I picked up this amazing bangle, something you dont get to buy often. It sits pretty on my wrist and everytime I look at it, I know that in some way I am carrying a part of history and culture with me.

Bidriware is very heavy, even the smallest pieces. They are expensive too, but well worth it.


Dinesh said...

It's great piece of art. Visit Sahyadri once and you will lot more such pieces of art.

Friar Tuck said...

I am too low class to be wearing art. Unless you consider a rolling stones t shirt art.