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

There is one puzzling symbol that appears in ancient carvings that astonishingly resembles a handbag. This symbol shows up in depictions made by the Sumerians, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Olmecs of Central America and in the remains of old Turkish shrines. Purses are present in the art of many civilizations from around the globe, whereas the first one showed up toward the end of the Ice Age. What is this secret symbol appearing throughout the old world?

A Symbol for the Universe?

This symbol is called handbag since it resembles a modern purse. It usually has a round handle and a rectangular base, and may have different other details of pattern. In some cases this handbag is depicted alone and in others in the hand of a man, deity, or mythical creature.

One probable explanation why this symbol is so spread is that it depicts the universe. The half-circle is a symbol for the hemisphere. While on the other hand, the rectangular bottom symbolizes the earth. In ancient civilizations, the circle was related to ideas of spirituality or non-materiality, and the square was frequently related to ideas of the Earth and materiality. Hence, the picture symbolized the reunion of the earth and sky, of the material and the non-material.

Oldest Representation of the ‘Purse’

One of the oldest examples of the purse theme can be found in the remnants of Göbekli Tepe, situated at the top of a mountain edge in southeastern Turkey. Göbekli Tepe was built around 11,000 BC and is one of the oldest temples. The precise function for the mountain temple is not known; but, it seems that it was used as a place for religious sacrifices (lots of animal bones were found there). There are delicately carved animals, gods, and mythical creatures on its walls and pillars, maybe in an attempt to depict a wide range of creations of the universe. And among all of them there are three purses.

Specialists think that the ancient religions worshiped the basic elements of life on earth. Thus the three Göbekli Tepe purses, could symbolize the location as a sanctuary.

The many examples of the handbag appear to prove that the cosmological symbol depicted as an ordinary everyday object (a basket) is used in order common people to be able to comprehend it.

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