Xie Zhen

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Xie Zhen
Water Margin character
Nickname "Double-headed Serpent"
Rank 34th, Savage Star (天暴星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits
Infantry leader of Liangshan
Origin Hunter
Hometown Dengzhou (in present-day Shandong)
First appearance Chapter 49
Weapon Bronze forked spear (渾鐵點鋼叉)
Simplified Chinese 解珍
Traditional Chinese 解珍
Pinyin Xiè Zhēn
Wade–Giles Hsieh Chen

Xie Zhen is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 34th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Double-headed Serpent".


The Water Margin describes Xie Zhen as seven chi tall, with a purplish face, wide shoulders and a narrow waist. He dons trousers made from leopard skin and wraps a tiger skin around his torso. He has a reputation for being brave and daring. He can travel in harsh conditions, scale mountains and climb dangerous cliffs. He is highly skilled in martial arts and carries a bronze forked spear as his weapon. He is nicknamed "Double-headed serpent".


Xie Zhen and his younger brother Xie Bao are the best hunters in Dengzhou (in present-day Shandong). Once, the magistrate sends them to hunt a ferocious tiger within three days. On the third night, the brothers track down the tiger and fire poisoned arrows at it. The wounded tiger falls off the cliff and lands in the backyard of Squire Mao's residence. The brothers go to claim the tiger but Mao has already sent his servants to bring the dead tiger to the magistrate to claim his reward. He accuses them of attempting to rob him and the brothers are arrested and imprisoned. Squire Mao bribes the magistrate to sentence the brothers to death.

The jailer Yue He is a relative of the Xie brothers' cousin-in-law Sun Li and he goes to seek help from Sun. Sun Li, Sun Xin, Gu Dasao, Zou Run and Zou Yuan raid the prison and succeed in rescuing the Xie brothers. They kill Squire Mao and his family for revenge and flee to Liangshan Marsh to join the outlaw band there.

Becoming an outlaw[edit]

The Xie brothers join Sun Li as they act as spies for Liangshan during the battle with the Zhu Family Village. They help Liangshan forces capture the village by causing chaos inside. They become leaders of the Liangshan infantry after the Grand Assembly.

Xie Zhen follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by the emperor. During the Fang La campaign, the Xie brothers offer to scout the enemy territory of Black Dragon Ridge. They disguise themselves as hunters and scale the mountain but are discovered by enemy soldiers, who throw hooks down on them. Xie Zhen is caught by the hooks and he draws his saber and slices the ropes connected to the hooks, falling hundreds of metres down the mountain to his death.

See also[edit]