Asian Woman Statue - I think real Ivory?

nybirdwatcherMarch 9, 2011

Hi, Can anyone out there help me with info about this figure / statue? We found two of these in my Gram's house when we were cleaning it out last summer (she collected everything and anything). I have this one and my cousin has the other. This is about 13.5' high and pretty heavy for such a delicate looking piece. I did a little homework on ivory and I think this may be real ivory...... It is heavy, cold to the touch, very smooth and solid cream color without any lines, marks or cracks and it didn't melt when I poked it with a hot needle. I'm a bit uncomfortable owning a piece of ivory even if it's an antique - I've found some conflicting information about the legality of it - I really appreciate any help and comments.


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Antique or vintage ivory is not a problem. For decades piano keys were covered with ivory. I have a piece of scrimshaw done on a whale tooth. It is not illegal to own your piece if in fact it is ivory.

I do have some question about the whiteness of the piece. Real ivory is not as a rule as white as your picture indicates. It also tends to yellow with age.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:06AM
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I don't see why you should worry about the legality--no one is going to burst into your house and denounce you. If you don't like it, sell it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 12:50PM
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Have you carefully inspected it with a magnifying glass? We did find a 'signature' on an ivory Roman lady statue.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 4:18PM
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hmm - Ivory has a very subtle, but distinct 'grain' to it, much like wood - something these pics are not close enough to show, however.

it's also very pale, and shows no patination.

as to the burn test - ivory does not melt, but it does smell a bit like burning hair.

oh the other hand, good faux-ivory work nothing to be sneered at - and it is a nice piece : )

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:55AM
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