This oil painting depicts figures labouring in a snowy landscape to build an aqueduct. Flushed from exertion, the men and women in the foreground smile as they lean forward to move a section of the structure. The painting emphasises the contrast between the cold conditions and the warm passion of the workers. Such portrayals of people working together cheerfully are typical of the revolutionary realist compositions produced during the Cultural Revolution in China (1966–1976), when Sun Guoqi and Zhang Hongzan began their careers. With the founding of the People’s Republic, women and men were meant to participate equally in labour, and the prominent depiction of female workers in this scene emphasises this point.