Saturday, July 7, 2018 from 7 - 9PM
Kaji Aso Studio
40 St. Stephen St, Boston, MA 02115
This is a group exhibition of artworks, poetry and music inspired by the Japanese "Tanabata" legend. The reception lasts from 7 to 9 pm, with poetry reading and music performances from 8 pm.
This event is free and open to the public, although donations are gratefully accepted. Poetry Books will be on sale for $5 each.
The exhibition continues through July 2018. Gallery hours are by appointment: 617-247-1719
Tanabata: The Myth and the Festival
The daughter of the Master of Heaven lived on the eastern bank of Heaven's River (also called the Silver River, or, in the West, the Milky Way). Night and day her shuttle flew across the loom as she wove the beautiful cloth that was worn by the gods. She was called Orihime, Weaving Girl, in honor of her diligence.
When Orihime came of age, her father chose a husband for her. Her betrothed tended oxen on the western bank of Heaven's River. He, too, was diligent at his work and was called Hikoboshi, Ox-herder or Cow Herder.
At their first meeting Orihime and Hikoboshi fell deeply in love. After their wedding, their honeymoon lasted so long that Hikoboshi's herds wandered and the god's clothes began to fade. Even then, the bride and groom did not return. Hikoboshi's oxen grew wild and the gods' clothes grew worn. Finally, the Master of Heaven became so angry that he had the heavens searched for the young couple. When they were brought back to him, he condemned them to be separated forever by the Silver River. But moved by his daughter's tears, he relented, allowing them to meet one day each year, on the seventh night of the seventh month.
On July 7, the Weaving Girl star (Vega) and the Ox-herder star (Altair) meet across the Silver River. The Japanese say that she rides a cucumber horse and he an eggplant cow. Another legend has them crossing a bridge of magpies to meet; if it rains, the magpies do not come and they have to wait another year.
In celebration of Tanabata, the Japanese traditionally gathered dew drops to make ink to write wishes on strips of paper and to write poems honoring the two lovers. These are hung with colored threads upon bamboo branches. Other decorative streamers are also hung for good luck. In order that the wishes may come true, after midnight or the next day, children take the bamboo branches to the nearest stream to be carried away by the currents.
Image: "Eternal Journey: Space and Time" watercolor & salt by Monita Rajbanshi