Bidri Hookah Base
height: 25 cm
This particularly fine example of a bidri vase or hookah base is decorated with alternating swirling bands of poppy or daisy flowers and foliage, and bands of herring-bone like motif, all rendered in silver.
Bidriware is believed to have originated in the city of Bidar in the Deccan. It is cast from an alloy of mostly zinc with copper, tin and lead. The vessels are overlaid or inlaid with silver, brass and sometimes gold. A paste that contains sal ammoniac is then applied which turns the ally dark black but leaving the silver, brass and gold unaffected.
Bidriware caused great interest at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. It found new European markets and helped to keep alive the craft as demand fell in India with the decline of many of the smaller courts and landed families.
Inventory no.: 111