These sets represent Chinese generals opposing the English. This probably followed the demand from British traders.
It is curious to note that the particular English King George III was chosen by Chinese carvers. Certainly, his rule lasted for a long time (1760 to 1820), though subsequent to 1810 he was represented by the Prince of Wales from 1810 onwards, because of the King’s health issues. George III was dress in an 18th century style robe which probably goes back to a portrait “in coronation robes”, done by Allan Ramsay in 1762 and well popularised through many prints and reprints.
While the carving style of the sets is Chinese by tradition, depicting Chinese figures, the classification of the design is English, with a king, queen, bishop and knight, and a rook carved as an elephant and castle. The Chinese king is normally described as an emperor or mandarin, but, possibly because the Chinese carvers knew the legend of Emperor Wen Ti and were anxious that they should not carve an effigy of their emperor, the Chinese kings and queens are based on costumes used by actors in traditional plays on Chinese mythology.