Nederlands Path: Home / Country list / Men at Work / in China

Men at Work in China

Nanjing, 12.VI.2012; pict. N. Heerink
Beijing, 18.VII.2004;
pict. N. Heerink
Shanghai, 7.VII.2005;
pict. E. Van Den Bergh

At least for now Europe seems to have more influence in China than the Americas. All finds be it men, children or rocks, are of the European match-stick design. Let's touch some peculiarities.

Take the panel of Beijing. The heap is very high in propor­tion to the size of the worker (similar to Mali). The earth must be a bit humid otherwise the heap could never exist in this shape. The worker is probably new to the job and someone should tell him to rotate the blade of his spade under a more useful angle. (Read also Bartolomeo's Best Practices)

The find from Shanghai warns for men on the road with spades in flames (digging too fast?). Normally the intended recipient of the warning is not shown on the sign itself (see another exception with playing children in Kilkee, Ireland).

If the sign is directed towards workmen telling them not to dig into a cable under the surface then the drawing should be like the one where we removed the man. The recipient of the message shouldn't be in the picture. And the spade should hit the wire.

Hanghzou, 26.VI.2004;
pict. N. Heerink
Beijing, 10.VII.2005;
pict. E. Van Den Bergh

The design from Hanghzou reminds me of similar drawings at several European places. However a shaft giving way under the load isn't seen that often. We have examples from Austria and Svalbard where we could blame the industrious worker or the inclement weather, but I think that in this case we should point to the inferior quality of the tool.

Hanghzou, 20.VII.2005; pict. E. Van Den Bergh

N. Heerink wrote me: Because of the Olympics construction work is going on at so many places all over Beijing (3 metro lines at the same time) that the modern men-at-work signs are running out. They have to fall back to the old handicraft stock.

Finally some news from China that's not depressing. Certainly for collectors.

Two really nice finds. Enjoy.

The text says: Construction ahead - cars should take another route

Beijing, 5.IX.2006; pict. N. Heerink


Path: Home / Country List / Men at work in depth / Men at work in China
e-mail: 
More signs from China: Children's crossing - Falling rocks
Road signs from Macau: Men at Work - Children's crossing
Road signs from Hong Kong: Men at Work - Children's crossing- Falling rocks