What is the meaning of “handbags” that Babylonian gods are often depicted carrying ? ![god with handbag]
It also has an interpretation of the image:
The figure depicted on the panel is eagle-headed and faces left, holding in his left hand a bucket and in his right hand a cone whose exact nature is unclear. One suggestion has been that the gesture, sometimes performed by figures flanking a sacred tree, is symbolic of fertilization: the "cone" resembles the male date spathe used by Mesopotamian farmers, with water, to artificially fertilize female date-palm trees. It does seem likely that the cone was supposed to hold and dispense water from the bucket in this way, but it is described in Akkadian as a "purifier," and the fact that figures performing this gesture are also shown flanking the king suggests that some purifying or protective meaning is present.
Another depiction can be seen here (I have cropped the image below to make it fit here):
This shows the same 'sacred tree' that was discussed in the Met image. So we have an early depiction of... a bucket. Probably being used probably in some form of fertility rite.