Subject:Re: ivory shou lao ?
Posted By: Bill H Mon, May 20, 2019
Your Shoulao longevity figure appears from the cracking to be carved in mammoth ivory, though carvers can simulate this effect by applying a blow-torch.
The figure also appears to have been lacquered purposely, which is a common finishing method used to simulate age. I'd suggest you refrain from using anything but a lightly dampened soft cloth to remove dust, while leaving the lacquer as is. Removing this finish would require a harsh chemical solvent that might leave your figure in much worse shape than you now perceive it.
The mark of the base of the figure reads down and across from the right in two stacks as "Chenghua Reign of the Great Ming Dynasty - (Da Ming Chenghua - 大明成化). This is an apocryphal attribution. Your carving probably is much more recent if it is actually carved of mammoth ivory, which has come into increasingly widespread use since the United Nations began to enforce protections for elephants and other endangered animal species during the late 20th century.