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Aranmula kannadi - A metallurgical tradition

By the banks of the River Pampa or Pamba in Patanamthitta district of Kerala, India lies a small village called Aranmula.

This village has gained significance due to the manufacture of a unique kind of mirror called the Aranmula Kannadi (kannadi in Malayalam means mirror). Aranmula Kannadi is an auspicious and an essential item of the Ashtamangalyam, a set of auspicious objects used in ceremonies like marriage.

This mirror is special and its making closely guarded secret, known only to the families in the village of Aranmula. Historic evidence shows that the production of this mirror started in the 18th century.

The Aranmula Kannadi is made of a special metal alloy and is a front surface reflecting mirror. Its uniqueness is reflected in its property, which eliminates secondary reflections and deviations typical of glass mirrors. As images in Aranmula Kannadi are reflected from the upper surface of reflecting material, only real images are captured.

A lot of hard work goes into the making of these mirrors. Copper and tin are two of the metals said to be used in casting these mirrors. To achieve their highly reflective surface, the finished mirrors are polished for several days.