One of four Republic-era (1912-49) plaques sold at Chorleys for £16,000.

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The targets of bidders on the phone and online from China, the US and the UK trade included a set of four rectangular porcelain plaques by Bi Botao (1885-1961). He was a member of the famous ‘Eight Friends of Zhushan’, the group of the best porcelain artists who came together to revitalise the industry.

The group is generally held to comprise 10 artists, with Bi Botao among the lesser names.

The four 8 x 5in (20 x 13cm) plaques dated 1932 (one pictured above) were painted with frogs, a spider, turtles and a snake to represent the four seasons. All were signed, one with the artist’s seal and, apart from some light wear to the enamels, were in good condition. They sold slightly below hopes at £16,000.

From the same collection, and going way above hopes of £600-800, a 2½in (6.5cm) diameter circular seal paste box, decorated with a figure on a bridge by another of the Friends of Zhushan, Wang Yeting (1884-1942), sold at £4000.