Book Cover with Sam Par Interior
Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan
This book cover probably once contained medical-magical texts used to cure diseases, prevent misfortune, or exorcise malignant spirits. The small figures are molds (called sam par) for dough models of animals, auspicious symbols, and demons. In ransom rituals used to placate malevolent spirits, the dough figures substitute for livestock. When performed properly, the spirits are believed to accept these dough effigies instead of taking the lives of the actual beings.