Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There is sweat and toil behind every BIDRIWARE

Exquisite:Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri working on a Bidriware at Shantiniketan School at Alevoor in Udupi.

Udupi: You simply cannot take your eyes off the exquisite engravings on the goblet, vase and other items made of Bidriware. Such is their mesmerising power.

The rhythmic sound of a hammer on a chisel while dedicatedly engraving designs on a Bidri vase is what attracts you to the master craftsman Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri, who is the creator of these beautiful items.

The basic material of Bidriware is an alloy of zinc and copper in the proportion of 16:1. It is on this alloy that artistic designs in pure silver are engraved.

The Birdriware undergoes an eight-stage process. The eight stages are moulding, smoothening by file, designing by chisels, engraving by chisel and hammer, pure silver inlaying, smoothening again, buffing and finally oxidising by soil and ammonium chloride.

The soil for the Bidriware is found in Bidar Fort and in buildings where neither sunlight nor rain has fallen for hundreds of years in the town of Bidar.

According to Mr. Quadri, the origin of Bidriware could be traced to 14th century. Sultan Ahmed Shah Wali Bahamani of the Bahami dynasty invited Abdullah bin Kaiser, a craftsman from Iran who was known for doing beautiful engraving work, for decorating his palaces and courts. Some local people then learnt this work, he said.

At present, there are 200 persons in Bidar who are well versed in producing Bidriware. Various items such as goblets, vases, wine decanters, hookahs, cardholders and multi-purpose boxes are produced in Bidriware metal. “It takes eight craftsmen and 15 days to produce a goblet,” Mr. Quadri says.

Producing items from Bidriware has been a family profession of Mr. Quadri. This profession has been passed on from one generation to another. “My brothers and two sons are in this profession. I even trained some outsiders, but they did not stick to it,” he says.

But the stoppage of subsidy of Rs. 16 lakh a year by the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation had hit the craftsmen hard. “Many craftsmen are leaving the trade to work as electricians and plumbers. The Government should act fast and save this glorious metal handicraft otherwise it may become extinct,” Mr. Quadri says.

A recipient of several awards, Mr. Quadri gave a demonstration of Bidriware craft as part of the Karnataka tableau during the Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26, 2011.

Source: kemmannu
URL: http://www.kemmannu.com/index.php?action=highlights&type=619