|Water Margin character|
|Nickname||"Jade Armed Craftsman"
|Rank||66th, Skilful Star (地巧星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends|
|Head craftsman of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Jizhou (around present-day Jining and Heze, Shandong)|
|First appearance||Chapter 39|
Jin Dajian is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 66th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 30th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Jade Armed Craftsman".
Jin Dajian is a craftsman from Jizhou (濟州; around present-day Jining and Heze, Shandong). An excellent sculptor who can carve all kinds of stone tablets, official seals and jade rocks, he earns himself the nickname "Jade Armed Craftsman". He is also skilled in martial arts. He is a friend of the Liangshan Marsh outlaws' chief strategist, Wu Yong.
Song Jiang writes a poem advocating rebellion against the government when he was drunk while serving exile in Jiangzhou (江州; east of present-day Chongzuo, Guangxi). He is arrested and imprisoned after Huang Wenbing reported him to the governor, Cai Jiu. Wu Yong sends Dai Zong to fetch Xiao Rang and Jin Dajian to Liangshan. Xiao Rang forges a letter in the handwriting of the Imperial Tutor Cai Jing (Cai Jiu's father), ordering Cai Jiu to have Song Jiang escorted as a prisoner back to the capital for further action. Jin Dajian completes the picture by carving a fake official seal similar to the one used by Cai Jing and stamps it on the letter.
Cai Jiu is fooled by the letter and believed that it is genuine. Just then, Huang Wenbing spots a mistake with the seal and exposes the fraud. Cai Jiu is furious and he orders Song Jiang and Dai Zong to be executed. Luckily, Wu Yong detected the mistake as soon as the letter was sent out, and had alerted the outlaws to prepare to rescue Song Jiang and Dai Zong. The outlaws storm the execution ground and save the two men in time.
Jin Dajian is placed in charge of carving official seals and other miscellaneous affairs after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Liangshan heroes. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong.
During the campaign against the rebel leader Wang Qing, Jin Dajian, Xiao Rang and Pei Xuan sneak into enemy territory on an espionage mission but end up being captured by Wang Qing's general Liang Yong. They refuse to surrender despite being subjected to torture. Later, Liang Yong's subordinate betrays him, kills him and releases the heroes.
On the eve of the final campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Jin Dajian is summoned back to the capital by Emperor Huizong and does not participate in the campaign. He remains in the capital and serves the emperor as an imperial craftsman for the rest of his life.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 133. EPB Publishers Pte Ltd, 1992. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
- (Japanese) Ichisada, Miyazaki. Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu. Chuo Koronsha, 1993. ISBN 978-4122020559.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China. KOEI, 1989.