The Bahamani Sultans ruled over many provinces in India between the 13th and 15th centuries. Being great patrons of art and architecture, they commissioned Abdullah bin Kaiser, a craftsman from Iran to work on decorating the royal palaces and courts. It is believed that Kaiser collaborated with local artisans to give birth to the craft in the township of Bidar (hence Bidri) in South India. Since then the craft has been handed down through generations.
The craft process and its final manifestation, both are very intricate. Involving many steps including casting, engraving, inlaying, blackening and polishing, the resulting products are striking on account of glossy, luxurious silver set against a deep black metal background. The details of the pattern are etched by hand using small chisels and thin sheets of silver are gently hammered into the engraving.
Traditionally, the Bidri designs are patterns such as the Asharfi-ki-booti, stars, vine creepers and stylized poppy plants with flowers. Designs also include the Persian Rose and passages from the Quran in Arabic script. However, many modern interpretations of this traditional craft are surfacing in contemporary products like dinner ware, candle stands, and accessories like key rings. We hope that this will allow the beautiful craft to reach a wider audience. Purvaai is making its own humble attempt by interpreting Bidri in textile art. Our new Autumn Winter Collection pays homage to this intricate craft and its dedicated craftsmen.
View our entire ‘Bidri’ collection of cushions at Stand B122 at Top Drawer Autumn, 16-18 September, London Olympia.