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A type of black metal work, often decorated with Silver or Gold, that originated in India near the town of Bidar in Karnataka. Bidri metal alloy contains Zinc (93.3%), Copper (3.5%) and Lead (3.1%). Decorative gold or silver wires and cut pieces are inlayed into into incised areas of the zinc alloy objects. The exposed alloy is then blackened by coating the piece in mud that contains Ammonium chloride, Potassium nitrate, and Sodium chloride. Heat is sometimes applied. Finally, the object is polished with a charcoal/oil mixture. Many types of bidri objects are made, such as; vases, ashtrays, cups, boxes, and jewelry.

Synonyms and Related Terms

bidri ware

Resources and Citations

  • O. Untracht, Metal Techniques for Craftsmen, Doubleday and Co., Garden City, NY, 1968.
  • David C. Scott, Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient and Historic Metals, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1991
  • A History of Technology, Charles Singer, E.J. Holmyard, A.R. Hall (eds.), Clarendon Press, Oxford, Volume 1: From Early times to Fall of Ancient Empires, 1954

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