Though the artist of this print is unknown, the bird of paradise speciemens were curiosities that would have been brought back to Amsterdam from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) or from the Moluccas. Birds of paradise are elusive and beautiful birds with elegant and colourful plumage. Here they appear on one of the 175 double-paged illustrations commissioned by Seba.One of at least ten artists working for Seba during this period was responsible for drawing the birds and for transferring them to the copperplate for etching. Among the artists most likely to have produced the Opossum were J. Fortuyn (born in The Hague) or his assistants. Other possibilities include P. Tanje, Adolf van der Laan, Frans. de Bakker, A. van Buysen, De la Croix, J. Folkema, W. Jongman, F. (Morellon) de la Cave, K. Putter, and J. Punt. The artist etched the drawing with precision to produce black and white plates. The plate was printed on linen rag paper.Artists were commissioned by Albertus Seba to draw from his collection of curiosities. Apart from a few anomalies, for example the seven-headed hydra, the drawings were of real specimens and a meticulous scientific approach was expected of the artist. In line with the practice of the early 18th century there is an element of the exotic to the plates, and, at times, unrelated specimens are placed together for dramatic effect. Seba had an artistic eye and was directly involved in the arrangement of the elements on the page.Wealthier members of society could have their copy of the Thesaurus painted by a hand-colourist, as is shown here. Hand-colouring was also a valuable way of differentiating the specimens, as Seba's text did not always allude to colour. The beautiful artwork was accompanied with a written description by Seba, this text being produced in collaboration with important scientists of the time. The result is one of the 18th century's most outstanding works on natural history.