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Really doesn't look like wood. Start by figuring out what it is made of - much easier for you (touch, scrape, poke, examine up close) than it is from pics.
Likely a chinese 19c carving of a softwood and red laquered before gilding.
THIS IS WOOD
Check this page out.
I think you got it! Wow, impressive.
now if I can only clean it up
I would help you, but I have a feeling you live a while away from me.
For intricate cleaning/dusting, I use "gas duster", compressed air in a can. I bought mine at Office Depot, but most computer stores carry it,or something similar. Great for cleaning dust and cobwebs from my computer.