Folk Rituals and Dough Molds
Householders employ a wide range of folk rituals rarely used by monks. Many folk rituals are geared towards concerns of this world, rather than the ultimate Buddhist goal of enlightenment. For example, effigies of auspicious symbols (the Tibetan zodiac and the i-ching), humans (monks and householders), animals (wild and domestic), and demons (beneficent and malevolent) are made from wooden dough molds like the ones seen here.
People offer dough and paper models of these subjects in ransom rituals to substitute for people or livestock. Alternately, effigies of poisonous creatures like snakes, frogs, and insects are used to neutralize their venom. Devotees believe that spirits accept the dough and paper effigies instead of taking the lives of the actual beings.