An early view of Kolkata by one of its first postcard publishers. The fine detail and texture of the collotype can be seen even in how the individual telephone wires are visible.
The word "Dhangar" owes its origin to the Sanskrit word "Dhenu" (cow), and apparently refers to a caste of people associated with herding primarily in Maharashtra, but also throughout India.
A very evocative studio portrait of three – instead of the usual single - ayah which, intentionally or not, hints at something of the pathos of their work.
A humorous card by one of the largest Raj retailers, comparing Western and Eastern cooks and procedures. It is signed by the artist Geo[rge] D. and dated 11 in the bottom right corner.
Nautch dancers inspired stories like Hassan Shah’s The Nautch Girl, “the first known modern Indian novel” in the 1790s, as well as the first Urdu novel, the story of the Lucknow courtesan Umrao Jaan Ada in 1899.
A version of this card was sent by
In The River showing Jetties and Howrah Bridge. Calcutta ships from all over the world are docked on the Hooghly, next to 18th and 19th century mansions occupied by successful trading houses. Thomas Cook & Sons wrote in their 1911 India, Burma, and
Hobson Jobson (1903) the great dictionary of Indian words in English, defines "Dhoby, Dobie s. A washerman; H. dhobi [from dhona, Skt. [Sanskrit] dhav, 'to wash.'] In colloquial Anglo-Indian use all over India. A common H. [Hindustani] proverb runs:
A fourth card in Rossler’s 1897 lithographic series of Calcutta features a fakir, the male counterpoint to the nautch dancer. Above the fakir is his spiritual guide along lifelong wanderings, Lord Shiva.