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, so a type of speculum metal, counting as a bronze mirror. It is polished for several days to achieve the mirror's reflective surface. The polishing is done using an abrasive paste made by mixing rice bran with oil extracted from seeds of maroṭṭi (Hydnocarpus pentandrus).
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. The mirrors are considered one of the eight auspicious items or "ashtamangalyam" used in the entry of a bride at a wedding venue.Kerala's chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan presented an Aranmula mirror to King Hamad of Bahrain during a visit there in 2017.
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