This stunning folio engraving is from the rare, originially hand-colored publication of Albertus Sebas Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio, et iconibus artificiosissimis expressio, per universam physices historiam. The work was published in Amsterdam by Janssonio-Waesbergios, & J. Wetstenium, & Gul. Smith between 1734 and 1765. Seba utilized leading scientists to aid in creating Locupletissimi including H. Boerhaave, P. van Musschenbroek, P. Massuet, H. D. Graubius, and P. Artedi. The work is the finest published Wunderkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities.
Seba developed an interest in exotic species from his travels on the East and West Indies and purchases from world travelers. He exploited his relationship with the Dutch East India Company to advance his collection thus gathering specimens from Sri Lanka, Greenland, Indonesia, Brazil, and other far-flung places. Many of the plates from the work depicted specimens from Sebas own collection. The sensational engravings are both scientifically accurate and aesthetically appealing.
Sebas cabinet of curiosities included beautiful and bizarre subjects and attracted many natural historians, including Carl Linnaeus. Sebas cabinet played an important part in the Linnaeus classification of the natural world. Maria Sybilla Merian also utilized his cabinet to complete her great work on Surinamese insects. Not lacking humor, Seba placed fake specimens in his cabinet including a seven-headed hydra in order to attract attention. Some of Sebas original collection is still on display in museums around the world.