These pearl-white carvings of Buddhist images are not made of ivory. No, they’re not, and I can tell you why not: because ivory is protected, and China would never, ever violate international agreements on protecting endangered animals.
So, it it isn’t ivory, then what is it? Simple: it’s fossilized mammoth tusks. Yep, it’s true, and I can tell you why it’s true: because the sign says so, that’s why.
You see, selling carvings made from modern elephant tusks would be wrong, because that would be against the law. But selling carvings made of the fossilized remains of long-dead, no-longer-endangered animals is perfectly fine.
Now, some will tell you that even if the sign says that the carvings are made from mammoth tusks, there is no way to tell for sure that they aren’t actually elephant or hippo ivory. But those people would be wrong, and I’ll tell you why they’re wrong: because those people are just wrong, that’s why. This is mammoth ivory, not elephant ivory, so go ahead and buy it. No problem. Increasing demand for mammoth ivory will in no way influence the demand for illegal elephant ivory. Not a chance.
All sarcasm aside, every time I see ivory, I get sad.