Five paintings, two of them spirited scenes from Chinese opera, cover the sides and top of this 19th century octagonal shoe trunk. Painted in tawny tones of cream, orange/red and brown, the scenes float in strong contrast to the very dark green muted background color. The two opera vignettes, one of them showing the Taoist immortal Le T'ieh-kuai, patron of travelers, as a beggar with his identifying iron staff, are painted on raised panels. This trunk, or lidded box, is one of the many types of decorative containers once used in China to store shoes. It has carrying handles on the sides and the lid is removable. The size, interesting paintings and shape make it wonderfully adaptable for use as a small side table. Made of Chinese pine, the piece is quite solid, and the wear on the dark green surface gives it an attractive patina. Dimensions: height 13 1/2" (35 cm), width 20 1/2" (52 cm), depth 17 1/2" (45 cm).