Aranmula Kannadi, also known as the Aranmula metal mirror, is a unique and traditional mirror that originates from the village of Aranmula in the state of Kerala, India. It is considered one of the finest examples of traditional metal craftsmanship in India and has a long history dating back several centuries.
Key features of the Aranmula Kannadi:
- Craftsmanship: The mirror is handcrafted by skilled artisans using a unique combination of metals like copper, tin, and brass. Unlike ordinary glass mirrors, which have a glass base, the Aranmula Kannadi has a metal alloy base.
- No Reflective Coating: Unlike modern mirrors, which have a reflective coating on one side of the glass, the Aranmula Kannadi achieves its reflective surface without using any coating. Instead, the artisan’s polish and manipulate the metal surface to obtain the mirror effect.
- Uniqueness: Each Aranmula Kannadi is one-of-a-kind and cannot be duplicated due to the complex and secretive manufacturing process handed down through generations of skilled craftsmen.
- Cultural Significance: The Aranmula Kannadi holds significant cultural and religious importance in Kerala. It is an essential item in the annual festivities of the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple during the Onam festival. It is also considered a symbol of prosperity and good luck.
- Geographical Indication (GI) Tag: The Aranmula Kannadi has been recognized with a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, which means that only mirrors produced in the specific region of Aranmula can be labeled and sold as Aranmula Kannadi.
Due to its unique craftsmanship and cultural significance, the Aranmula Kannadi has gained popularity not only in India but also internationally as a valuable and exquisite piece of art.
Aranmula Kannadi or mirror is not just another mirror. It is a special type of mirror manufactured at Aranmula, a village in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. Aranmula kannadi is one among 8 auspicious items included in the Ashtamangalya set, used for auspicious functions. This metal mirror is famous for its construction secret and the product got geographical indication also.
The major difference from other mirrors is that this is not made from usual glass. It is made from a metallic compound and is almost like bell metal. The mirror is produced by well-skilled craftsmen utilizing their technical skills. Unique manufacturing methods are needed to make the Aranmula mirror which makes it the only metal mirror available worldwide.
The method of manufacturing is obtained from one generation to another. It is an inherited gift and so its making is kept as a family secret. As this is a unique object, its creation is also mysterious and the beauty of these mirrors is incomparable with anything else
The mirror is so famous and in great demand that there is an 18-inch Aranmula kannadi placed at the British Museum in London. It costs expensive and a major component of the cost is the labour. However, owing to the price, it is now considered a precious and unique artifact. Tourists also are attracted to this and very often go for owning at least one piece.
In Kerala`s Pathanamthitta district lies Aranmula, a culturally-rich village that has been drawing travelers for years. Apart from the holy River Pamba and the annual snake-boat races, this village is widely popular for its Aranmula Kannadi – intricate metal mirrors. Often a part of an Ashtamangalyam (a set of eight auspicious items usually set out during important occasions) set, Aranmula kannadi are made from an alloy of copper and tin, which then goes through a series of rigorous polishing over days, in order to achieve their reflective surface. The final outcome is a stunning hand-made, handheld mirror.