This set of beads would not typically be used by Tibetans but can be found in the Himalayas where non-Buddhist practices, often called shamanic, are still performed. The snake vertebrae are strung in their original sequence and probably belonged to a python. The number of vertebrae is usually about fifty but snake mala can vary in length. It is believed that such mala are related to naga divinities often associated with water, the healing of infectious diseases, and other external and internal forces that are dealt with during the rituals when these are used.