Aranmula Kannadi

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New Aranmula Kannadi
Aranmula kannadi
Aranmula kannadi in its raw, unpolished form
Aranmula kannadi in various etched brass frames on display

Aranmula Kannadi, meaning the Aranmula mirror, is a handmade, metal-alloy, first surface mirror made in Aranmula, a small town in Pathanamthitta, today's Kerala, India.


Unlike normal "silvered" glass mirrors, it is a metal-alloy mirror or first surface mirror or front surface reflection mirror, which eliminates secondary reflections and aberrations typical of back surface mirrors. They are produced by one extended family in Aranmula. The exact metals used in the alloy are maintained as family secrets; metallurgists suggest that the alloy is a mix of copper and tin,[1] so a type of speculum metal, counting as a bronze mirror. It is polished for several days to achieve the mirror's reflective surface.[2] The polishing is done using an abrasive paste made by mixing rice bran with oil extracted from seeds of maroṭṭi (Hydnocarpus pentandrus).[3]

Cultural significance[edit]

The origins of the Aranmula kannadi are linked to Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. According to legend, centuries ago the royal chief brought eight families of temple artisans and craftsmen from Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu to Aranmula to create the mirrors in the temple.

These unique mirrors are the result of then Kerala's rich cultural and metallurgical traditions. They have great historical and cultural value, and are thought to bring good luck.[2] The mirrors are considered one of the eight auspicious items or "ashtamangalyam" used in the entry of a bride at a wedding venue.[4][1]Kerala's chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan presented an Aranmula mirror to King Hamad of Bahrain during a visit there in 2017.

The British Museum in London has an Aranmula mirror 45 centimeters tall in its collection.[2] The mirrors received a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2004-05.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Srinivasan (2008).
  2. ^ a b c "Aranmula mirrors". The Hindu. Kollam, India. 13 July 2012.
  3. ^ "GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS JOURNAL NO. 3". Intellectual Property India. 1 November 2004.
  4. ^ Srinivasan & Glover (1995), Part 2. Scientific investigations.
  5. ^ "State Wise Registration Details of G.I Applications 2004-05". India. Archived from the original on 26 August 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.


  • Srinivasan, Sharada; Glover, Ian (1995). "Wrought and quenched and cast high-tin bronzes from Kerala state, southern India". Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society. 29 (2): 69–81.
  • Srinivasan, Sharada (2008). "Mirrors: Metal mirrors from India" (PDF). In Selin, Helaine (ed.). Encyclopedia of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Vol. 2. Berlin: Springer. pp. 1699–1704.

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