Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Pottery and Coin Collections

Pottery and Coin Collections from Thankassery, Kollam.

Thankassery is heavily populated beach area on the shores of the Arabian sea in Kollam, Kerala. Archaeologists recently discovered Chinese coins and other artefacts along the coast, which reveals the historic background of the location. Kollam port makes Thankassery,  an important place on the world maritime map. The place is home to the remnants of an ancient coastal defence hub built by the Portuguese, St. Thomas fort, a Portuguese cemetery, a canal, and the infant Jesus cathedral.  The place holds a unique and unusual cultural heritage compared to the other seashore towns of the state.

Pottery        (Location: Thankassery)


Thankasseri pottery, also known as Thankasseriware, is a traditional form of pottery that originated in Thankasseri, a village near Kollam in the Indian state of Kerala. This pottery style has a rich history dating back several centuries and is renowned for its unique designs and craftsmanship. The potteries are dated post 15th century CE and our source of acquisition is Dr. Rajan Gurukal,

Thankassery pottery is typically made from locally sourced clay, which is known for its quality and suitability for pottery making. The clay is collected from nearby riverbanks or other natural sources and is then processed to remove impurities before being shaped into pottery. Artisans use traditional techniques such as coiling, pinching, and molding to shape the clay into various forms, including pots, vases, lamps, and decorative items. Traditional motifs such as floral patterns, geometric shapes, and mythical figures are commonly featured in Thankassery Ware, reflecting the cultural heritage of the region. The firing process also plays a crucial role in enhancing the colors and textures of the pottery, resulting in vibrant and visually appealing creations. Chinese pottery ( 12TH C to 15th C CE)  and Glazed potteries are also part of the collection.

Chinese pottery has its roots in Neolithic cultures dating back to around 10,000 BCE. Early Chinese potters produced utilitarian objects such as cooking vessels, storage jars, and ritual items using techniques like coiling, pinching, and molding. One of the most famous types of Chinese pottery is porcelain, which originated during the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE) and reached its zenith during the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE)


Glazed pottery refers to pottery that has been coated with a layer of glaze, a vitreous substance that melts and fuses to the surface of the pottery during the firing process. Glazes are composed of various minerals and chemicals, and they serve both decorative and functional purposes in pottery making


Coins      (Location: Thankassery )


Thankasseri coins named after the town itself, are fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural and economic history of the region. These coins with their unique designs and historical significance serve as valuable artifacts that connect the present generation with the illustrious past. Dating back to the 18th century, the Thankassery coins were primarily issued during the rule of Travancore Kingdom, and were made of copper or brass. One of the distinctive feature is the depiction of maritime elements. Given the towns significance as a coastal trading centre, many coins bore images of ships, anchors and waves symbolizing the thriving maritime activities that defined the region. we have pre modern coins, Travancore coins, Arabic coins, khalifa coins, Chinese coins.

Types of Coins

Pre modern coins -Pre-modern Kerala had a rich history of coinage. The region used various types of coins, including Kasu, panams, and chakrams. These coins were often made of gold, silver, or copper and featured intricate designs and inscriptions. The rulers of different periods, such as the Cheras, Cholas, and Zamorins, issued their own coins, reflecting the cultural and political diversity of Kerala’s history.

Travancore coins – The Travancore coins were typically inscribed with Malayalam or Tamil script and often featured the ruling monarch’s portrait or emblem. The coins of Travancore were circulated in different metals, including gold, silver, and copper. The design and inscriptions varied across rulers and eras, providing a glimpse into the region’s cultural and historical evolution.

Arab coins – Arab coins, often referred to as Islamic or Arabic coins, have a rich history and varied designs. They have been issued by various Islamic dynasties and caliphates throughout the centuries. These coins typically feature Arabic calligraphy, religious inscriptions, and geometric patterns.

Khalifa coin refers to coins associated with Islamic Caliphates, then it would encompass a broad range of coins issued by various Caliphates throughout history. The coins issued by Islamic rulers often carried inscriptions in Arabic, sometimes including religious phrases or the names of rulers.