The portrait of Kuroda Nagamasa (1568~1623), the first lord of the feudal domain of Fukuoka, on horseback. His biography written by Hayashi Razan is found in the upper part of the picture. The portrait was created in 1624, the year after Nagamasa’s death. Nagamasa was a son of Kuroda Yoshitaka (also called Kuroda Josui) (1546~1604) who first received the title of daimyo (feudal lord) of Buzen Nakatsu Province, an area valued to produce over 120,000 koku of rice, after his father retired.
After Toyotomi Hideyoshi died, the decisive battle of Sekigahara broke out in 1600. Nagamasa immediately took the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu and contributed to his victory by politically working on Kobayakawa Hideaki, then an enemy leader, to make him take the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nagamasa also fought fiercely in the battlefield. For his services, Tokugawa Ieyasu gave Nagamasa Chikuzen Province in its entirety, and Nagamasa moved to his domain in December of the same year. Nagamasa governed his territory and conducted land surveys, but he struggled under the Tokugawa government’s control over daimyos, especially when he had to undertake “Otetsudai Bushin”, a large size construction project. However, he was ordered to stay at Edo during the big battle known as the Winter Siege of Osaka in 1614, because he was not regarded as capable of providing powerful assistance to the Tokugawa forces. Since then Nagamasa decided to express his loyalty to the Tokugawa government more clearly than ever and approached senior officials and powerful members of the government. Also he concentrated his effort on educating his son, Tadayuki (1602~1654), who later became the 2nd lord of his clan, to be his good successor. In 1623, Nagamasa went to Kyoto on the same occasion when Tokugawa Hidetada, the 2nd Shogun, the leader of the Tokugawa government, visited Kyoto. But Nagamasa became seriously ill there and eventually died at Houonji Temple in Kyoto. Before he died he left many messages in his last will addressed to his children and retainers expressing his concern about the future of his clan.