Aranmula kannadi

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Description:
An Aranmula kannadi or Aranmula metal mirror is a special type of mirror produced at Aranmula, a village in the state of Kerala in India. Composed of a special metal alloy, instead of glass, the Aranmula kannadi is a front surface reflection mirror, which eliminates secondary reflections and aberrations typical of back surface mirrors. The exact metals used in the alloy are unknown to public and is maintained as a family secret; however metalogists suggest the alloy to be mixed with copper and tin to cast the mirrors, before being polished for several days in a row to achieve their reflective surface.

These unique metal mirrors are the result of Kerala's rich cultural and metallurgical traditions, and have great historical and cultural value. Produced by a single extended family in Aranmula, the origins of the Aranmula kannadi are linked with the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Legend has it that eight families of experts in temple arts and crafts were brought by the royal chief to Aranmula from Tirunelveli district to work in the Parthasarathy temple centuries ago on the mirrors.

The British Museum in London has a 45 centimeter tall Aranmula metal mirror in its collection.

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