B˘a (把) was originally used as a verb meaning “to hold/to take” in Middle Chinese. Although in modern Chinese it retains this original function only in some idiomatic expressions, it has changed into a preposition-like element to take up a nominal before the verb. B˘a (把) construction is often used to signal a change of state resulting from some activity. It is also worth noting that B˘a (把) construction often indicates that the event is ended.
他把一本書撕成兩半 (tā bǎ yī běn shū sī chéng liǎng bàn/He tore a book into two pieces.)
Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun