What is the Mysterious Handbag Seen in Ancient Carvings Across Cultures and Countries?

What is the Mysterious Handbag Seen in Ancient Carvings Across Cultures and Countries?

(Read the article on one page)

The many instances of this symbol seem to confirm the use of a handbag as a cosmological symbol represented as a commonplace household item (a basket that is, not the handbag) so as to be better understood by ordinary people.

Top image: Assyrian relief carving, 883 – 859 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art .

By Kerry Sullivan


Freeborn, B. L. "The Odd Little Purse in Olmec and Assyrian Art."  Noahsage. Noah's Age, 1 July 2013. Web. https://noahsage.com/2013/07/01/the-odd-little-purse-in-olmec-and-assyrian-art/.

Scranton, Laird. "Perspectives on Ancient Handbag Images."  Lost Origins . Lost Origins, 21 Feb. 2016. Web. http://lost-origins.com/perspectives-on-ancient-handbag-images/.

Tinfoil Hat. "Ancient Purses and Balls of Power."  Tinfoil Hat Lady . Tinfoil Hat Lady, 10 June 2014. Web. https://tinfoilhatlady.com/2014/06/10/ancient-purses-and-balls-of-power/.


I believe it is just what it is...a useful handbag, not a religious symbol...BUT did you notice the WATCH on the left wrist of one, and the right wrist of the other!!! What a sight!!! More important than the handbag!! Also not a religious symbol!

I have seen these images hundreds of times and never noticed the watches! What a very significant observation! Prestigious time travelers sporting Gucci Handbags and Patek Philippe Watches???

Have these been photoshopped? If not this is incredible!

all the answers to what they had, wore and how they did things is simplistic.
No watches.

Sure...go ahead and mess up a fun concept. Then why are there 12 lines on these bracelets?

No...I counted 16 on one and 15 on the other I think. lol

OK... Count the lines...on the "Watches"
12 for hours dividing the day into 12...
then the moving arms on watch:
two for hours/one for minutes =
15 lines on watch...

thats not a watch. a bracelet. the indentations all around just represent balance of the persons status or position in society.
Another question is, whats inside the bag ? From society to society; hmmmm.

Kit Kats!

I would like to know -Is that a wrist watch on that figure??? Sure looks like a pretty good representation to me! It even has numbers around the dial and appears to have a minute or hour hand as well!!! Even more of a mystery!!!

Nuclear codes

The handbags could be almost anything...but what's with the pine cone poking me in the face? That's what always worries me.

In the second image, you can see a second "watch" on the other arm, with the "face" on the inside of the wrist. The only reason for two watches is if the Assyrians had already invented timezones, and had telephones to communicate between them so it was important to know the time in two different locations! Or maybe they are bracelets with a wheel design, one of the most popular designs in religious symbolism.

Tsurugi's picture

That "flower" shape of the watch face is also very similar to the Imperial Seal of Japan, which is........weird.

Just a thought: Could they be some form of standard for weight measurement?


I’d go with the bucket theory and expand upon it. If you want some sort of ritual connotation it could be for carrying ritual fire or embers to start a fire. 



Maybe ancient smartphones were carried in a cases with handles.

daniel.pletinckx's picture

This post-truth era is really fun, you know! Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situla

Digital heritage expert - Visual Dimension - Belgium

The objects carried by the carved figures have curved bottoms which means they would not be useful as buckets. They are more likely to be some kind of bag.

Interestingly, the similar images on the stone at Gobekli Tepe have flat bottoms. They could represent buckets or, bags that do not have anything in them,

daniel.pletinckx's picture

Plese have a look at the real thing, which are the ritual buckets (called situla) that are preserved today in museums: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situla

You will see that both curved bottom and flat bottom are present

Digital heritage expert - Visual Dimension - Belgium

I see what you mean but, the objects in your link don't appear to be exactly the same.

Buckets with curved bottoms would need to be propped up continuously. Unless held by someone, they could not support themselves. That would not make them very useful. I don't know about you but, if I had to buy a new bucket and had a choice between one with a curved bottom or one with a flat bottom, I would not choose the one with a curved bottom. I would have no use for one that would need to be constantly supported. It would be in the category of useless inventions, along with chocolate teapots and square wheels.

I'm guessing it's a power source for the "pine cone" and other tech.

I believe the figures represented are Shaman and the bags contain whichever psychoactive material was used, most likely psilocybin containing mushrooms. Pinecones have for thousands of years served as a symbolic representation of human enlightenment, the third eye, the pineal gland, and Shamans in some parts of the world still carry similar bags. I find it odd that some would rather talk of aliens and whatnot rather than the very obvious fact that homo sapiens have been consuming psychoactive plants even before leaving Africa. I'd even be willing to wager that consuming this "food of the gods" is what led to a higher level of thinking and likely helped form the foundations for religion. Makes a lot more sense than aliens and time travelers, although it is fun to read all the wild theories.

Tsurugi's picture

I don't think those are pinecones. I've seen them referred to as "the spathe of the date palm" in old archaeology journals.

Aliens and time travelers make just as much sense as anything else, considering these images span the globe and are older than almost every other known symbol.

These mysterious handbags are found all accross the world, also in Indonesia: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=A4fXhEnL6s0

I think that basket have the same meaning as Easter Basket today.

Tsurugi's picture

I think this bag motif also appears at Tiawanaku/Puma Punku.

And if it is in Indonesia, no doubt it will be found in and around Gunung Padang as well, which could date it even older than Gobekli Tepe.

i suppose it's a metaphor for ones "baggage" ? i'm assuming one needs to fires look at who the carving/statue is to discern what it is they bring with them


Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Posthumous portrait of Queen Isabella I of Castile.
Isabella I was a Queen of Castile and León who lived between the middle of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries. Her reign is notable for a number of important events, including the completion of the Reconquista, the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, and Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage, which the monarch supported and financed.


Left side view of the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings, a television special, took an hour long look at the great city, its inhabitants, and the excavation of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, (also known as the Feathered Serpent Pyramid.) The program revealed evidence of advanced engineering built into a tunnel system, and placed directly underneath the Pyramid.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article