Today is Tanabata (七夕, meaning “Evening of the seventh”), a Japanese festival celebrating the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. To commemorate the special day of stagazing, kirie artist Lito has carved 2 very special leaves.

Japanese artist Lito (you can read more about him here) follows the standard kirie practice of cutting each of his compositions from a single leaf. In the image above, a group of animal friends are depicted practicing the tanabata tradition of writing wishes on a narrow piece of paper called tanzaku and hanging them from bamboo.

In the image below, the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi can be seen, separated by the milky way which is represented by a serpent. We continue to be astonished by the skill required to cut such detailed compositions into leaves, as well as the concentration to complete each work before the leaf begins to decompose.

Happy Tanabata!