Exposition permanenteMusée MaritimeThe golden age of sea travel

These ivory beads were found in the wreck of the Seine, a French naval corvette which sank near Pouébo (East coast of the Main Island) in 1846. They were carved from sperm whale teeth. They were part of a royal Polynesian necklace ("lei"). Extremely rare, they were still used in Wallis and Futuna, and in Tonga, in the 19th century. Before wrecking in New Caledonia, the Seine had indeed called at Tonga and at Wallis and Futuna.

On this photo, you can see a royal Polynesian necklace, collected by Louis Joseph Bouge, Governor of Wallis and Futuna in 1911-1912.