Two Chinese men carrying a load suspended from a pole between them.

Two Chinese men are shown carrying a load suspended with rope on a length of bamboo, in front of European style buildings. The man at the front is dressed in loose fitting light-coloured trousers, a dark jacket and undershirt - both open at the front. On his head he has a round cap, and shortish black hair. He looks forward as his left arm holds the bamboo cane in place on his shoulder on top of a strip of fabric padding, as his right hand steadies the load behind him. His workmate, similarly dressed - although with light coloured jacket and sandals, holds the bamboo with his left hand and looks forward at the ground. The load itself, is rectangular, and about 4 x 3 x 3 feet in dimensions. At the end facing forward the package is labelled with the letters 'S' 'T' above an isosoles triangle (point up) with the number '167' within. Below this the label continues 'V' 'B' above the number '21' and finally on the bottom line: 'Hamburg'. The load, which is undoubtedly heavy, bends the thick bamboo cane in the centre. There are a further two men, carrying a load in a similar fashion behind, and another standing against a tree-lined wall, watching from the background.

The original negative envelope was labelled on the reverse: 'Coolies carrying load Shanghai Oct 1900'. The word 'coolie', in common use in the early 20th century to describe workers of Asian origin, has been retained in quotations as the historic title of the photograph, which was written on the accompanying contact print. The original negative envelope was labelled: 'Loaded coolies. Shanghai. Oct.1900'.

Object Details

ID: N64411
Type: Glass plate negative
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Jones, Kenneth Hurlstone
Date made: Oct 1900
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 82 mm x 102 mm

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