This superb ivory carving of a Chinese legendary figure Tie Gui Li is a late 19th or early 20th century product. It is 11 ½” tall (including base); without the base it is 9 ¾” high, 2 ½” wide and 2” in depth. The statue presents a legendary Chinese character who is a member of the eight immortals. According to legend, one day he told his follower that his spirit was going to travel far away. He asked the young follower to watch over his body for seven days while he was away. If he did not come back after the seventh day, the young man must burn his body. Everything went well, the young man kept his promise and the spirit enjoyed the trip. But on the last day, the young man discovered his mother was very sick and that he needed to go home. So, the young man burned the body and left. It was a big shock when the tired spirit returned home from his trip and to find no “place” to go. So, desperate and hopeless, he had to settle for a body of a recently deceased beggar. This is the later image of “Tie Guai Li” (or Li Tie Guai), a crippled man who wore a filthy robe and carried a bamboo staff. All the other immortals are handsome, young, noble and wise. Still, Tie Guai Li is still the favorite immortal. The workmanship of this late 19th or early 20th century ivory statue is great; the carving, the coloring, the polishing and design really make this piece remarkable. The carved base is made of hard wood. This piece is in excellent condition.