This is a gandau or ancestor figure. The Kalasha people who made it believe that inanimate objects such as trees or stones have souls very much like our own. Gandau commemorate an individual’s life, but they are also understood to contain some of the essence of the deceased. Gandau are more than just monuments, they are in some ways alive.
In the late 19th century these items were destroyed by Muslims in their attempt to convert and spread Islam. In times of recent conflict in that part of the world such items have been sold on the black market and the Kalasha have been threatened unless they embrace Sunni Islam, however, the Kalasha continue to resist such threats practising their religion and maintaining their identity and way of life. There is now a revival in the carving of new gandau.