The remains of our past will always exist amongst us. For years to come, as people, crafts, places, or simply as stories.
The unique 300-year-old metal mirror from the village of Aranmula
In Malayalam, “Kannadi” means “mirror.” These unique metal mirrors are made out of tin and copper alloy. Unlike ordinary mirrors, which have a gap between the object and the image whereas, in the Aranmula Metal Mirror, there exists no gap. It is completely handmade and they reflect you with zero distortion. Only a few Vishwakarma families in Aranmula know the secret to crafting these 250-300 years old metal mirrors.
Aranmula Kannadi has a prestigious national and international reputation. It’s a known fact that the Aranmula Kannadi is costly. Because this is a handcrafted metal mirror, it requires extra labour and time to create. Every piece of Aranmula Kannadi is the result of hours of effort and hard work.
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Only A Few Families Know The Secret To
Making This Perfect Mirror | Still Standing
Only A Few Families Know The Secret To Making This Perfect Mirror | Still Standing
Late M S Janardhanan Achary
He made the world’s first largest Aranmula Kannadi
The secret to the creation of the Aranmula Kannadi was passed down from Shri Subrahmanian Achary to his son Shri M S Janardhanan Achary. He took the family vocation at a young age and excelled in art. He spent most of his life engrossed in his craft. He was a great maker of bronze products including “Uruli”, “Vilakku”, and “Aranmula Kannadi”.
National Merit Award
from the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, and was awarded by K R Narayanan, President of India.
State Award 1993
from Handicraft Development Corporation of Kerala (HDCK) in 1994 and was awarded by Governor B Rachaiah.
Honored at the Silver Jubilee Celebration
of Handicraft Development Corporation of Kerala in 1993.
He made the world’s first largest Aranmula Kannadi which has a total height of 27 Inches and 18 Inches sized Metal Mirror, and it is a wall hanging model. It was completely handmade by him in the ‘90s. It is difficult to make large Aranmula metal mirrors, he tried making a few and only two were completed successfully. One of them was sold and the other one is kept with them.
He participated in government exhibitions nationally and internationally such as “Dilli Haat” organized by New Delhi Tourism, “Surajkund International Mela” organized by Haryana Tourism, “Saras Fairs” by the Ministry of Rural Development, and other exhibitions organized by Central Government and Craft Museums. These exhibitions helped to propagate the artistic value of the Aranmula metal mirror, making its presence admired all over the world.
Photo Credit: Prof. Sharada Srinivasan
His wife Ponnammal K G, helped him in the making of Aranmula Kannadi after their marriage and now also she is continuing the tradition with her daughter and grandsons.
Sudhammal is the first woman to independently practice Aranmula Metal Mirror-making
Sudhammal is the daughter of Late M S Janardhanan Achary and Ponnammal K G. She took after the ancestral way and specializes in the traditional craft of Aranmula Metal Mirror. Sudhammal holds a Craftsman Identity card issued by the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. She helped her father in the Metal mirror-making from a young age. Sudhammal keeps the family tradition alive and strong with her skilled craftsmanship, making her one of the most sought-after Aranmula metal mirror craftspersons the country has seen. After her father’s demise, she has been completely focused on the metal mirror, actively carrying out the manufacturing of the metal mirror under the enterprise Sree Parthasarathy Handicrafts Mirror Center since 2007. Sudhammal has been featured in different media and magazines including Business Insider, Kerala Tourism, The New Indian Express, The Hindu, Safari T V, and Mathrubhumi Yathra Travel magazine.
Metal Mirror Marvel of Aranmula
by Prof. Sharada Srinivasan
Photo Credit: Prof. Sharada Srinivasan