Robert BRUNDAGE describes these objects in the following way: “Carvings of myriad ritual implements, animals, deities and demons are skillfully rendered in miniature.  … Intricately carved images of esoteric ritual objects, demonic spirits and Buddhist protectors were carved into wooden sticks called Zanpar (zan-spar). Tsampa (barley meal and yak butter dough) was pressed into the appropriate images to produce ritual sacrificial offerings (T. glud) for good fortune and protection from malevolent spirits that often create disorder.”

Reference: Robert Brundage  (


Paul MORSE on wooden mould sticks: “Dough molds were used in Tibetan popular rituals to make dough effigies … The ritual is a form of protection, exorcism, or ransom. The molds would be carried from a monastery by a trained monk to the home of anyone who wished to cure sickness or to deal with various misfortunes. The practitioner could chose from the dozens of small inscriptions on the board to identify the type of obstacle to be dealt with, be it human, animal, bird, supernatural, or symbolic. This accounts for the great number of carved images found on a single board. He then places a ball of dough (tsampa flour and water) onto the appropriate incised images, presses it to form an images of the objects and then places them on an offering plate located on a specially constructed altar. Chants by the practitioner expedite the transfer whatever impediments he discovered into the dough effigies.”

Reference: Paul Morse (