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Multidisciplinary Art

Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King

Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King
Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King

Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King is an exceptional shadow play performance by Hamid Rahmanian; breathing new life into a magical Persian folk tale from the Shahnameh at the Tirgan Festival 2019.

Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King retells a classic tale from the Shahnameh or Book of Kings, originally penned in the tenth century AD by the Persian poet, Ferdowsi (c. 940–1020). Multidisciplinary artist, Hamid Rahmanian not only did the illustrations for Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings, he also created beautiful shadow puppets of the epic’s characters.

Rahmanian’s shadow play portrays the story of Prince Zahhakwho is easily swayed by the devil to take the throne from his father to become “King Zahhak”. Soon after, King Zahhak is again duped by the devil whose seemingly respectful kisses turn into monstrous snakes which ich grow out of the king’s shoulders. The Serpent King grows infamous for his treachery and oppression. Zahhak: The Serpent King rules for 1,000 years before a virtuous man named Feraydun defeats the unjust King.

Featuring a stunning array of intricate, handmade shadow puppet figures silhouetted on a backlit screen; Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King blends mythologies alongside historical events with limitless artistic improvisations. The Legend of the Serpent King introduces us to some of the most well-known Persian names such as Jamshid, Kaveh, Feraydun, and Faranak magnificently depicting our cultural roots and underlying values of contemporary culture.

Tirgan Festival proudly presents a rare screening of Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King designed and directed by Hamid Rahmanian and invites you to an immersive experience set at the heart of Tirgan Festival 2019.

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