Material and Medium: Ivory, wood
Dimensions: Overall: 520 x 110 x 90mm (20 1/2 x 4 5/16 x 3 9/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.239
This is a figure of Ma Gu, a Chinese immortal who represents longevity. She is usually depicted as a beautifully dressed pretty girl of about 18 or 19, though her actual age is infinite, and she often has symbols of long life, like the deer, shown with her. The deer also symbolises accomplishment, reward, and wealth. The fly whisk in her hand is an instrument of magic, while the incense smoke wafting from the censer in her hand represents cloudlike energy that is sacred and acts as a vehicle for travelling to the spirit world.
Ma Gu is often shown in pictures or represented in images displayed during birthday celebrations, and for Golden and Silver wedding anniversaries.