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Vizhinjam, Thiruvananthapuram

The archaeological site Vizhinjam (Vilinjam) is located in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The coastal site known in ancient records as Vilinam, Vilunam, Vilinda and Balita was the fortified capital of the Ay dynasty and later its possession went into the powerful rulers of Chera, Chola and Pandya kingdoms (8th-12th A.D). A variety of artefacts from the early history to late medieval period were found in Vizhinjam.

The displayed artefacts acquired from archaeological excavations at Vizhinjam are:

Rouletted ware from Vizhinjam (2nd Century BCE- 2nd century CE)

The term roulette ware was derived by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1945 to describe a distinctive type of decorated pottery found in his excavation at the South Indian Site of Arikkamedu.

Rouletted ware (courtesy: Vimala Begley)

Torpedo jar sherds (4th-7th century CE)

Torpedo jars were likely produced in Mesopotamia, although there is no evidence of kilns. They were used in liquid containers, probably for wine.

Illustration of Torpedo jar

Turquoise glazed pottery from Vizhinjam (7th -11th century CE)

It is one of the most widely distributed West Asian ceramic types and almost all historical and early medieval port sites in the Indian Ocean reported its presence. Common shapes are straight necked jars, neck-less or hole mouthed jars with sloping shoulders and globular jars.

Turquoise Glazed pottery (courtesy:

Chinese Plain white porcelain wares from Vizhinjam (9th century CE)

Chinese white porcelain wares are vitrified pottery with fine-grained pottery which is usually translucent. Porcelain which means Cowrie shell and was firstly made by the Tang dynasty (61-907 CE) and was spread to the west during the Yuan period (1279-1368).

Chinese plain white porcelain ware

Chinese blue on white porcelain wares from Vizhinjam (12th-18th century CE)

The blue and white wares are generally classified into two categories, one from Jing de Zhen Kiln of the Jiangxi province and another from the Zheng Zhou Kiln of Fujian province. They are generally dated to 17th-18th CE.

Chinese blue on white porcelain (courtesy:

Chinese celadon ware from Vizhinjam (10th-11th century CE)

Celadon is a term for ceramics denoting wares glazed in the jade green celadon colour, also known as greenware. This pottery originated in China and spread to other parts of the world.

Chinese celedon ware

Chinese porcelains ware from Vizhinjam (14th-16th century CE)

Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating substances, generally including materials such as kaolinite, in a kiln to a temperature between 1200°C and 1400°C. Porcelain slowly evolved in China and spread to East Asian countries, then to Europe and eventually to the rest of the world.

Chinese porcelain ceramics

European Ceramics from Vizhinjam (18th-19th century CE)

The production of European Porcelain started in the late 16th CE. However, the majority of the porcelain industries in Europe were established from the 18th CE onwards.

European ceramics (courtesy: