Friday, April 7, 2017

Bidriware imitations everywhere

Source: The Hindu .

Special Thanks to Rishikesh Bahadur Desai sir and Serish Nanisett sir.

Counterfeit An imitation Bidriware piece.

Unscrupulous traders go the easy route to meet bulk orders

Are visitors to Hyderabad buying fake Bidri souvenirs? This is the fear of Bidri artisans in Hyderabad and Bidar in Karnataka who believe cheap screen-printed pieces are being passed off as hand-crafted Bidriware.

Rehaman Patel, a faculty member in the Department of Visual Arts, Gulbarga University, has written to the Geographical Indications (GI) Registry voicing his concern after he came across a photograph of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao handing over a Bidri souvenir to Tim Cook, Apple CEO, a few months ago. He also wrote to the Karnataka government demanding action against misuse of the GI tag.

Even The Hindu wrote to the Telangana Chief Minister’s office on this issue, but there has been no reply.

Original Bidriware is made of an alloy of 90% zinc and 10% copper, with inlay work of pure silver. The products are later blackened by dipping them in a bath of chemicals with traces of soil from Bidar fort. Instead of the long-drawn-out traditional process, unscrupulous traders are printing the designs onto black plastic or zinc plate. These poor imitations are being passed off as original.

“When we get bulk orders, or when the design is too intricate, or when the client is in a hurry, we print the design. The printed design is laid on a base material, which can either be a zinc plate or a black plastic sheet and the print is fixed using a process of oxidisation,” said a trader in Hyderabad where regular Bidriware is also created.

Incidentally, Bidriware is protected by the GI Registry and any attempt to duplicate it is illegal. “These items are cheaper and weigh far less than the authentic product. I bought a few items out of curiosity,” said Bengaluru-based art connoisseur Kranti Kumar.

Imitation Bidriware is being sold even in the souvenir shop of the Salar Jung Museum. “This is not Bidriware. It’s machine printed. Nobody’s hand is so steady,” said Muhammad Yaseen, a craftsman in Hyderabad’s Murgi Chowk area, when shown a ₹1,700 ‘Bidri’ item. Incidentally, at a retail outlet in Hyderabad, a similar-sized item is sold for ₹550, while an original Bidriware of slightly bigger size is sold for ₹2,500. Half of the Bidar old city’s economy is dependent on Bidriware, and it would be destroyed as machine-made goods become popular. Artisans would lose jobs, said Rashid Quadri, national award winning artist and quality consultant for Cauvery Handicrafts. Counterfeit items are flooding bigger markets in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kalaburagi, said Vinayak Vangapalli, who has written a research paper on the Bidriware market.


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