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Elephant figurine with rider

I need some help dating this piece and identifying what it is and who made it.  I would alos like to get an approximate value.  IT has been in my family as long as I can remember and I inherited it when my mother passed away.  I believe this piece belonged to my grandmother.  This appears to be an asian (maybe priest) rider on an elephant.  The figure is side sitting and holding an orb in his hand.  The rider's clothing is very elaborate as well as the saddle/decorations on the elephant.  This figurine appears handpainted with very intricate details.  The elephant stands on a separate wooden stand with carvings.  The only markings I can find on the piece are some encircled chinese characters painted below the elephants right ear.

 

Category: 
Ceramics and Porcelains
Condition: 
Excellent
Medium: 
ceramic/porcelain
Distinguishing marks: 
Chinese characters in gold paint below elephant's right ear
Date Period: 
More than 50 years old
Size and dimensions of this item: 
12"H x 12" x 8"
Weight: 
5 lbs
History: 
I believe my grandmother purchased this. It has been in our family since before I was born and I am 47 years old.
For Sale?: 
No
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