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Bidri Huqqa - #5170
Bidri Huqqa - #5170
This fine and rare 19th century Indian silver inlaid bidri huqqa bottle of bell form is decorated with panels of inlaid silver flowers within geometric and foliate patterned borders.

There are four main stages in the manufacture of Bidri. They are (i) casting (ii) engraving (iii) inlaying and (iv) oxidising. The articles are cast with the help of moulds of red clay into which the molten solution of copper and zinc. The surface of the rough cast of the articles is filed and smoothened with sand paper and then rubbed with a solution of copper sulphate to impart a dark surface to provide a suitable base for the next stage of tracing the design and engraving. The designs are traced by hand, by the craftsmen with the help of chisels. Next, pure silver wire or sheet (gold in rare cases) is hammered into the grooves of the design and the surface smoothened with the help of sand paper and files or with the help of a buffing machine. In the ultimate interesting stage, the articles are heated gently and treated with a solution of sal-ammoniac and earth taken from old fort buildings which has the effect of making the entire surface turn jet black providing a distinct contrast to the shining silver inlay. It is this contrast that lends Bidri a uniqueness that no other metalware could possibly claim. Finally, oil is rubbed on the piece to deepen the black matt coating.

Dimensions are 5.25" high x 5.5" diameter.

Overall condition is excellent with only minor silver loss.