This group illustrates what was likely another Parker style. These bags are distinguished by their many strings of beads, arranged in a tight band along a scalloped perimeter. They have pleasing color combinations in soft, contrasting hues, and a characteristic type of floral work.
Ruth Phillips has studied a collection in Leiden, The Netherlands, assembled by an early Dutch ethnologist named Ten Kate. He met Seneca chief Ely Parker and had a letter of introduction from him to his sister Caroline and her husband, Tuscarora Chief John Mt Pleasant. Kate collected examples of beadwork during his visit and though not particularly distinguished, they were quite possibly made by Caroline (Personal communication from Ruth Phillips, June, 2009). The floral style has strong similarities to those in this group.
“The art of flowering” is what these women were noted for. In describing how Caroline and her mother approached beadworking, Morgan wrote:
In doing this work, the eye and the taste are the chief reliances, as they use no patterns except as they may have seen them in the works of others [suggesting that they were not averse to borrowing the ideas or designs of other artists]. In combining colors certain general rules, the result of experience and observation, are followed, but beyond them each one pursued her own fancy. They never seek for strong contrasts, but break the force of it by interposing white, that the colors may blend harmoniously. Thus light blue and pink beads, with white beads between them, is a favorable combination; dark blue and yellow, with white between, is another; red and light blue, with white between, is another; and light purple and dark purple, with white between, is a fourth. Others might be added were it necessary. If this beadwork is critically examined it will be found that these general rules are strictly observed; and in so far beadwork embroidery may be called a systematic art. The art of flowering, as they term it, is the most difficult part of the beadwork, as it requires an accurate knowledge of the appearance of the flower, and the structure and condition of the plant at the stage in which it is represented (Morgan 1852:111).
Most of the bags we see in this style use these color combinations. Some of the finest examples have an exquisite, central floral motif on one side and this could be a Caroline Parker identity marker. The large bag in this group may have been a presentation piece. The lower bag in the center is decorated in both beads and moosehair.
Morgan, Lewis Henry 1852 - Report on the Fabrics, Inventions, Implements and Utensils of the Iroquois, Made to the Regents of the University, Jan. 22, 1851. Illustrative of the Collection Annexed to the State Cabinet of Natural History, with Illustrations. Printed by Richard H. Pease, Albany.