The exquisite "Aranmula Kannadi" is a very special type of metal mirror produced only in Aranmula, a village in the state of Kerala in India. Aranmula metal mirror is a precious inherited gift. The mystery of its production is a family gift handed over through generations. Indeed, the ancient art of making metal mirrors is still practiced, without modification, by a few family-based artisans in Aranmula (One being Thikkinampallil family). The manufacture of Aranmula Kannadi has been a zealously guarded secret of a handful of these surviving artisans.

The exquisite "Aranmula Kannadi" is a very special type of metal mirror produced only in Aranmula, a village in the state of Kerala in India. Aranmula metal mirror is a precious inherited gift. The mystery of its production is a family gift handed over through generations. Indeed, the ancient art of making metal mirrors is still practiced, without modification, by a few family-based artisans in Aranmula (One being Thikkinampallil family). The manufacture of Aranmula Kannadi has been a zealously guarded secret of a handful of these surviving artisans.

Aranmula metal mirror is a rare piece of craft that had existed even during the Vedic period of Indian history. The myth about the origin and secret of its composition makes it a truly fascinating craft. As traditional as the mirror-making technology is, the artisans' belief that the composition of the metal mirror is divine and some undisclosed metals alloyed with silver, bronze, copper and tin are responsible for the distortion-free images.

"The reflections of the Kannadi had enthralled all its beholders. It mesmerizes everyone and shall continue to do so."

Aranmula Kannadi is not mass produced and is hand made with all its perfections as how one looks at it? While commercially available glass mirrors reflect an image, because of a silver coating at its rear, Aranmula Metal Mirror is the only mirror which reflects from the front plane. This had its popularity until the advent of the commercially manufactured glass mirrors which proved to be much cheaper. The demand of Aranmula Kannadi grew by bounds only a decade ago especially in foreign countries.

"Aranmula Kannadi is as beautiful and attractive as the glittering gold purified in fire"

A huge amount of determination, perseverance and patience goes into the making of this enchanting mirror. Mud from the local paddy fields is used for the mould into which the molten alloy mix is poured to cast the mirror and the technique followed is the cire-perdue or the lost wax method of casting. Even with the utmost care, only about 60% of the cast metal mirrors can be salvaged, the rest get damaged in the process of manufacture. The metal mirror is then polished using well-ground, burnt clay powder mixed with special oil on a jute cloth. To achieve a highly reflective surface, polishing can go on from one to several days. When a satisfactory finish is achieved, the mirror is mounted on various models of artistic brass frames.

Did you know?

  • Aranmula Kannadi is unique in the make which is patent protected with a 'Geographical indication tag'.
  • The British Museum in London has a 45 centimeter tall Aranmula Metal Mirror in its collection.
  • The Aranmula Kannadi is not created from glass but from a combination of special metal alloy.
  • Many people believe that owning an Aranmula Metal Mirror brings good luck, wealth and prosperity to one's lives
  • Aranmula Kannadi is one among the eight auspicious items included in the "Astamangalya Set", which is used for very auspicious occasions like marriage.
  • Aranmula, a small village in Kerala - "God's Own Country" has been selected among thirty two villages for the two-year Endogenous Tourism Project (ETP), jointly sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of India.
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The Making of Aranmula Kannadi
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