Spelling & Traditions The spelling of these very special Tibetan objects varies greatly. Apart from the most common form "Zanpar" you will find other like "Zangpar", "Zenpar" or "zan-spar" and many more.
Wooden dough molds were used in Tibetan popular rituals to make dough effigies called zan par ["dough print"]. The molds would be carried from a monastery by a trained monk to the home of anyone who wished cure sickness or to deal with various misfortunes.
"Tsampa" [barley meal and yak butter dough] was pressed into the appropriate images of the zanpar stick to produce ritual sacrificial offering for good fortune and protection from malevolent spirits that create disorder and diseases.
Die molds shows humans, mammals, birds, insekts, mystical beeings, weapons or symbols.
In Tibetan antiquities, zanpars never played a significant role. On the one hand, their background, meaning and use were largely unknown. On the other hand, Zanpars were hardly attributed a special value. They played no role among collectors and in trade.
This led to the fact that authentic Zanpar staffs are extremely difficult to obtain today.
The following explanations essentially summarize what is still known today about this category of Tibetan antiquities: