Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King by Ferdowsi
About the book: This gorgeous pop-up book is based on the incredible illustrated Shahnameh that I reviewed earlier, Ahmad Sadri’s translation of the 1000 year old epic Persian poem by Ferdowsi. The sumptuous artwork is by Hamid Rahmanian, with clever and detailed paper engineering by Simon Arizpe. The feathered details in the turbans are particularly delightful.
This Iranian folk story tells the tale of Prince Zahhak. The Prince is convinced by the devil to murder his father the king so that he can steal the throne. Soon after, the crowned Zahhak is duped again by the devil whose kisses turn into monstrous snakes that grow out of the king’s shoulders. The Serpent King grows infamous through out the land for his treachery and oppression. He rules for one thousand years before a noble and valiant young Iranian man named Feraydun gains the strength and army to defeat the unjust King.
Beautifully illustrated and cleverly engineered – I consider this volume to be one of the nicest pop-ups in my very large collection. This stunning volume also won the Meggendorfer Prize winner for the best pop up book in 2018. The video above gives a detailed pictorial review, and there is also a slideshow below featuring some images of the book from Fantagraphics.