Based on a few other carvings out there of a very similar ilk, I am pretty certain this one is Chinese, likely depicting a scholar, with what seems most likely to be a scroll held in hand. I think it is quite an exquisite little thing, which feels rather ancient but I think most likely 19th century, and which appears to have been finely carved from one piece of wood, then hand-painted, now showing primarily a combination of soft gray and gold. At some point it was mounted on a this knob-like base, painted a similar gray. Lovely.
5 1/8" tall overall; figure itself measures 3 7/8" tall. 1 7/8" in diameter at base. Some paint loss, as there should be, but overall in very good condition, and with a wonderful presence.