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A Royal Tradition

Bidri, the distinctive metal inlay craft of Karnataka, embodies 600 years of traditional practices, processes, and materials.The craft is said to have originated in the royal courts of Persia, from whence it travelled to India and flourished under the patronage of the Bahmani Sultans who ruled Bidar in the 14th and 15th centuries. Here, skilled artisans merged local craftsmanship with Persian influences to create a unique art form that is now recognised as distinctly Indian.

The Bidri Process

A Symphony of Skill and Materials

The enduring allure of Bidri can be attributed to the unbroken lineage of artisanal skills, passed down from generation to generation of craftspeople. The craft gets its name from Bidar, an area in Karnataka, which is considered home to this art.

Step 1 of 8


A unique molten zinc alloy is poured into a pre-designed mould. When this cools and sets, it forms the foundational piece that the artisan works on in subsequent stages.

Step 2 of 8


A rotating disc is used to smooth out the rough surface of the newly-cast piece.

Step 3 of 8


Copper sulphate is applied to the buffed surface, temporarily blackening it. This forms the canvas for the elaborate pattern-work that follows in the next few stages.

Step 4 of 8


A fine-tipped metal stylus is used to inscribe the desired design on the blackened surface.

Step 5 of 8


Small chisels are used to go deeper into the pattern and carve out narrow grooves that are as fine as 0.5 to 1 millimetre in depth. This stage requires immense precision.

Step 6 of 8


Silver or brass wires are then hammered into the grooves.

Step 7 of 8


The inlaid piece is carefully filed and polished and during this process, the temporary black coating is removed.

Step 8 of 8


The buffed piece is immersed in a boiling mixture of water, ammonium chloride, and a specific type of soil. This chemical process oxidises the Bidri product, giving it its characteristic black lustre.

The Craftspeople

M. A. Rauf and team, who have been a part of this collaboration, are masters of the 600-year old practices of Bidri. They took on the challenge to reinterpret their craft. The fusion of their traditional techniques with modern design perspectives involved navigating different working styles and aesthetic preferences, leading them to new discoveries and innovative solutions.

The collaborative journey boosted the craft team’s pride in their artistry, realising that their handcrafted skills significantly contributed to the aesthetic allure of the final creations.

The craftsperson adds a zinc ingot to the burning furnace to prepare the Bidri alloy for casting.

Copper sulphate is applied to a work-piece to create a black canvas for scoring designs.

The craftsperson scores designs on a work-piece, using a metal stylus.

The craft team’s array of buffing wheels and miscellaneous cast pieces.

A newly-cast piece is buffed with a filing tool.

Discover our first collection, in which diverse designers from across the globe have applied their breakaway approaches to the ancient craft of Bidri