In 2003, the Honolulu Academy of Arts acquired a substantial collection of Japanese, Chinese and Korean paintings, prints, and rare books from the collection of Richard Lane (1926-2002). A noted scholar of Japanese art and literature from the Edo period (1615-1868), Lane lived in Japan for nearly 50 years, during which time he wrote dozens of articles and books, establishing a reputation as one of the leading experts on Japanese ukiyo-e, “images of the floating world.” Lane had strong ties to Hawai‘i, beginning with his appointment to the Academy as Research Associate for Ukiyo-e in 1959. Lane maintained his connections with Honolulu throughout his career, as an advisor to the Academy and to woodblock print collector James A. Michener, whose collection forms the core of the museum’s world-famous ukiyo-e holdings.
Among the earliest paintings discovered in the Lane Collection are a Chinese hanging scroll on silk of Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, painted by a Chan (Zen) monk in the 13th century, and the 15th-century scroll Boy Riding a Goat (an auspicious symbolic New Year’s image) by Lü Wenying, a Ming dynasty court painter. The earliest Korean painting in the collection is the rare 16th-century Zhou Dunyi Admiring Lotus Flowers, depicting a noted Chinese Neo-Confucian philosopher in an idyllic landscape.
The bulk of the Lane Collection comprises Japanese paintings, such as the 16th-century Muromachi period Squirrel on Bamboo by Söami (who served as official connoisseur to the Shogun), a striking depiction of Daruma (also known as Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism) by Unkoku Töeki (17th century), a fan painting of an egret on gold leaf by the great Rimpa School master Ogata Körin (1658-1716), and a painting of a bijin (fashionable young woman) by Isoda Koryüsai, one of the greatest 18th-century masters of the Ukiyo-e School (well represented by his woodblock prints in the Academy’s James Michener Collection).
Japanese woodblock prints are represented by masterpieces of both the Edo (1615-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods, including series of prints by Hiroshige (The Soga Brothers’ Revenge), Yoshiiku (Ghost Parodies of The Tale of Genji), and Chikanobu (Snow, Moon, and Flowers).