• Post category:Kerala Art & Dance Forms
  • Post last modified:June 21, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

The Aranmula Kannadi, a unique metal mirror, stands as a shining testament to Kerala’s rich cultural heritage and centuries-old metallurgical expertise. Unlike ordinary glass mirrors, these treasures are meticulously crafted from a special alloy of copper and tin, polished to perfection over days.

A Legacy of Artistry and Tradition in Aranmula

Creating an Aranmula Kannadi is an intricate dance of skill and dedication. While traditionally guarded by Vishwabrahmana artisans, the knowledge has been shared with select individuals, ensuring the legacy endures.

  1. Crucible Melting: The process starts with melting the copper-tin alloy in a crucible using a coconut shell and charcoal furnace.
  2. Molding with Clay: Special clay from Aranmula’s paddy fields is used to create molds, dried, baked, and coated with a coal mixture.
  3. Casting: Molten metal fills the mold, sealed with cow dung and clay. A second layer is applied, and the mold dries for a day.
  4. Furnace Firing: Filled molds are heated in the furnace to around 750 degrees Celsius.
  5. Cooling, Cutting, and Polishing: Cooled molds are broken, and the metal is cut to size. The mirror is then attached to a wooden plank and polished with coconut oil, jute, cotton, and velvet cloth.

People who are more curious about the whole making process of Aranmula Kannadi can refer to the Aranmula Kannadi Documentation compiled by Prof. Bibhudutta Baral and Amulya S, NID, Bengaluru.  Below, you have another video explaining the same:

Identifying Authentic Aranmula Kannadi

The Aranmula Kannadi was the first craft in Kerala to receive the GI tag, safeguarding its heritage and quality. To identify an authentic mirror:

  • Look for the Hologram: Mirrors produced from 2016 onwards should bear a hologram.
  • The Fingertip Test: Gently touch the surface—an authentic mirror will not show a gap between your finger and its reflection.

The Evolving Craft and Its Future

The craft is no longer confined to a few families. Engineers, MBAs, and other professionals are now carrying forward this legacy, adapting to modern demands while preserving tradition. While disputes exist regarding GI rights, genuine artisans continue to produce exquisite mirrors, sought after by individuals and government institutions alike.

Where to Buy and How to Care?

For an authentic Aranmula Kannadi, purchase directly from authorized artisans or reputable dealers in Aranmula. Thearanmulakannadi.com is a recommended source due to its transparent practices, use of manual labour, and reasonable pricing. You could also get in touch with Shri A. K. Selvaraj, Senior Craftsman, Aranmula, Kerala, Mobile: 09947725232. He can help you get the real Aranmula Kannadi at the real price.

To cherish your mirror, handle it with care, dust with a soft cloth, and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

The Aranmula Kannadi is not just a mirror; it’s a reflection of Kerala’s soul, a harmonious blend of art, heritage, and enduring craftsmanship.

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