These wooden amulets harken back to days of animist beliefs in the mountains of Northern Pakistan, particularly the Swat Valley in the Kohistan region that is renowned for its woodwork. The function of these amulets were two fold, to protect the animal wearing it, and to serve as a "brand" a means to identify the owner of the animal. The symbolic carving was meant to be protective, occasionally incorporating Buddhist designs (an influential religion in the area in the past) and more often drawing from a much more ancient pool of design. Many of these also have a small hollowed out area, that would have originally been sealed (typically with wax or varnish) and would contain various items with protective qualities, dirt from a sacred space, insects, stones, prayers, beads, anything that was thought to have a power to prevent ill befalling the animal. These are old, some quite old, and mostly are made from cedar, occasionally rosewood is used, but its difficult to tell due to the layers of varnish to protect them from the elements.