Aranmula Kannadi, an example for uncommon technical skill and manufacturing dexterity, is a special kind of mirror formulated by polishing a bell metal plate until it shines, made by mixing up lead and copper in a particular ratio by melting them down. This brought about the name Aranmulakannadi because it is produced in Aranmula alone. It is believed that the mirror brings prosperity, luck and wealth to home. In many important museums in the world too, Arnmulakannadi is exhibited as a rare object now.
Still, what make Aranmula kannadi(Aranmula metal mirrors), the only metal mirror available in the world, popular is its secretive construction method. Members of five families with traditional skilled artisanship alone know about the manufacturing process of this object of wonder. As this is kept as a family secret there is no possibility of duplicating the product.
The Aranmula kannadi is a front surface reflection mirror, which eliminates secondary reflections and aberrations typical of back surface
mirrors, wherein image is reflected from the bottom layer where mercury is pasted. Thus one can say that a person sees his or her real image reflected only inthe Aranmula kannadi.
There exists a narrative about the origin of this mirror. About four centuries back, the king of Aranmula made a settlement in the premises of the temple for a few families who were experts in the manufacturing of worshipping plates, ornamental materials, bells, lamps, other instruments etc. The king offered all facilities needed to them. Gradually they became lethargic. The king felt displeasure in this. To retrieve the pleasure of the king the sculptures decided to make and submit a special crown before the God. Their women even gave their own ornaments for this purpose. Though the proportion of silver and gold in the mixture was unknown, they could make a crown in silver hue, shining like crystal. When they polished
that crown, they could understand that it had the power of reflecting. This was known as mirror image. Knowing the beauty and reflective power of mirror image, the sculptors continued experiments and that resulted in the finding out of the actual proportion of the alloy. The king extended all helps needed to make that an industry.
This mirror manufacturing which has been existing in Kerala as a special kind of cottage industry. The Government of Kerala have taken necessary steps to rejuvenate it