Jo Nei, nicknamed "Gold Lancer" with his hooked lance

Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (Japanese, 1760-1849)

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Jo Nei (Xú Níng) is described in The Water Margin as over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and sturdy hips, fair of complexion, and sporting a three-part mustache and beard. Hokusai brings him to life in an elegant yet powerful action pose that highlights his fierce, piercing gaze.

His most prized possession was an heirloom suit of armor made from eagle feathers bound with metal and gold. Strong and lightweight, neither blade nor arrow could pierce it. The outlaws stole this armor to lure Jo Nei to their hideout, where he was persuaded to join them. The only known expert of the unique weapon called the hooked lance, he trained the Liangshan forces in its use against the chain-linked armored cavalry of the imperial troops. Making a horse tumble down by hooking its legs caused it to bring down the other horses to which it was chained.

George C. Calvert; given to the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1947.

Object Information

Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (Japanese, 1760-1849)
creation date
1829 (Bunsei 12)
woodblock printed book illustration
7 3/16 x 4 7/8 in.
mark descriptions
Inscribed: Jo Nei using his sickle-hook spear at Sanjin
accession number
credit line
Gift of George C. Calvert
Public Domain
Asian Art

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