The dhobi was a favorite postcard subject, with the colors on this postcard - note the brilliant white - likely stenciled in by the publisher in India.
The Kolam tradition of creating complex geometric patterns, often passed down from mother to daughter, out of rice flour or chalk in front of the home is an ancient tradition in South India and elsewhere.
Possibly a dancer in a nicely hand-tinted postcard; note the red tip of the plant pointing to the lady.
A rich scene and well-preserved collotype to match, photographic in spontaneity and effect. One woman is glancing up from the pots, oblivious to another handing her one. Some men look at the camera, others walk by indifferent.
Historical records in Chennia mention Nungambakkam as one of the three villages (in addition to Egmore and Chetput) that the British East India Company purchased in 1743 to form the port city of Madras.
[Original caption] Madras, Holy Tank at Tirukalikunoram. Here in a great square court surrounded by people, palms, and neem-trees, we have one of the great Holy Tanks of Indian pilgrimage.
[Original caption] Mylapore Tank. Madras is built in a straggling fashion along the seashore. Most of the roads run between avenues and are flanked by groves of palms and other trees.
This particular card was mailed to France from Chennai on Dec. 25, 1900. Note the entire message is readable, but from what is seems to say:
[Unclear first word] "Happy new year, Mr. Francis. Really it is not cold here. Antoine."