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.
Combridge & Co. were among the earliest publishers of India postcards, a number of which they printed as cyanotypes, a blueish monochrome print popular around the turn of the century. This building still exists, but is now the Madras Club.
A daub of red anchors the eye in this fine composition. Moore Market was opened in 1900, and destroyed by a mysterious fire in 1985, after which the land was repurposed for the Chennai Suburban Railway station.
A very early Higginbotham's postcard, with the back blind stamped "Post Card" instead of printed (or electrotyped). The image is also very small, not merely to leave room for writing but because that is where most of the expense was, in the ink and
The basket bazaar of Madras was renowned for its beautiful wicker work and offered many kinds of basket weavers a platform to show their craft and sell a wide variety of goods.
A popular figure specific to early South Indian postcards is the toddy drawer. Palm wine was made from sap collected from trees in little pouches.
The early 20th-century Home Rule League demanded self-government for the whole of India from British rule and was particularly active between 1916-18. Many Indian leaders supported this movement including the famous nationalist, Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
These kinds of offensive postcards seem to have been part of series by both Higginbotham's and their main competitor in South India, Spencer & Co.