Kerala

The charm of Adakkaputhur mirror

M.P. Krishnakumar, son of Balan Moossary, the creator of Adakkaputhur mirror, with the mirror.

M.P. Krishnakumar, son of Balan Moossary, the creator of Adakkaputhur mirror, with the mirror.  

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The metal mirror, designed by Balan Moossary, occupies prime position in many households

It was about four decades ago that art appreciator Kunnathumana Raman Namboodiri of the celebrated Kathakali village Vellinezhy reached Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram and saw an exhibition in which the Aranmula metal mirror was on display.

Inspired by the unique craftsmanship behind the mirror, Mr. Namboodiri approached his village blacksmith Balan Moossary and requested him to produce a new kind of metal mirror that can compete with those from Aranmula.

An expert in making bronze and copper-based utensils having aesthetic brilliance, Balan Moossary took up the challenge, though he had not seen the Aranmula mirror. Known as ‘Adakkaputhur Kannadi,’ the metal mirror designed by Balan Moossary occupies prime position in many households across the globe.

“The Adakkaputhur mirror is purely his imagination. He never visited Aranmula and not even once tried to see what the Aranmula mirror is. He had a humble beginning and so the magic of the mirror was known only among the village community till the early eighties when historian M.R. Raghava Varier visited us and wrote about it in leading journals,” said 41-year-old M.P. Krishnakumar, the youngest son of Balan Moossary, who keeps the legacy alive.

Though two of his brothers and many blacksmiths in the village refused to continue with Adakkaputhur mirror manufacturing, citing the risk involved in burning metals at 2,000 degrees Celsius and continuous hard labour extending up to five hours, Krishnakumar has taken it up as a challenge. He is the only person who makes the mirror now, though he makes it only on demand.

Though the school dropout tried to train half a dozen villagers in the art of making the mirror, they discontinued the studies citing the strain involved.

“There are many such artisans making unique products on the banks of the Bharathapuzha. Lack of government patronage and inability to find proper markets are hindering their prospects,” said Gopinath Parayil of responsible tourism initiative Blueyonder.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 3:45:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/The-charm-of-Adakkaputhur-mirror/article14405985.ece

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