Is this my favourite hand-painted sign in Cambodia?

Colourful 1970s looking hand-painted sign in Kampong Cham, Cambodia, showing off some buffon women's hair styles

This amazing sign is from Kampong Cham, the province to the South of Kratie. It’s certainly in my top three of all time, what’s not to like? It’s remarkable that such a striking piece of Cambodian sign painting is almost hidden behind a modern hoarding. It would be easily missed if you weren’t scouring the area for hand-painted signs. In fact, I had almost decided to take a rest from cycling around in the midday sun but something told me that there was a premium discovery yet to be made. How right my instincts were.

I asked the woman in the shop when it was made. She was quite vague but suggested 25 years ago which would date it to 1987, quite a bit newer than its 1960s/1970s appearance. The lettering in the headline has definitely got something 1970s about it and isn’t like anything I’ve seen on signs elsewhere. The women all look so glamorous and I love the pouting going on second from right. The whole composition is fantastic and it could easily be a scene out of Boogie Nights or even an old James Bond film.

A closer look at the bottom left corner reveals what looks like a sign painters signature and a number, perhaps indicating that this was the 73rd produced by that craftsperson. The diamond is indicative of any number of quality standards found elsewhere in the world so no clues there. I may have to push the translations budget a bit further and see it I can get this one decoded, unless any Khmer readers want to add the English to the comments.

I hope you like it as much as I do, I’ll post some more photos from the same trip soon.

Signature, number and diamond symbol in the corner of a hand-painted Cambodian sign

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