Chinese Ivory Some of the most interesting and valuable ivory carvings come from the heritage of the Chinese. They often created lovely works of art which were then exported to other places around the world. This practice of selling works of art made from ivory is documented as far back as 1 B.C. in China. They carved many different types of statues of religious characters and animals out of the ivory. They also created pipes which were used by various cultures for ceremonial purposes. Even though most countries around the world have banned ivory from being used, China continues to engage in the use of it. They can’t export it as they once did due to the laws in other countries though. It remains to be a very big part of their own culture though. It seems as if the middle and upper class of people in China aren’t willing to settle for substitute materials in the place of real ivory. They feel it is a dishonor to their own heritage. The large numbers of elephants being poached in Africa are believed to be killed in order for the ivory to be exported to China. It is often smuggled into the country even though it can’t be proven. Since it isn’t illegal in China to use ivory there is very little that can be done unless it is detected during transport. Experts believe that if the level of poaching to supply ivory to China continues the elephants in Africa will be extinct in 30 years or less. The government of China finally seems to be taking these facts seriously though. Due to pressure from other countries they are making some changes and limitations to the use of ivory. Yet it is still allowed in high volumes so elephants and other animals that supply ivory continue to be in grave danger. You need to be very careful about buying Chinese ivory while you are there or from any other place. It may be considered to be illegal in your area. You can end up in a great deal of legal trouble because of it. Even online sites such as eBay have decided that they will no longer allow Chinese ivory to be bought or sold on their site out of respect for these animals.