Oil painting on silk, "Hua Mulan Goes to War"
|Hanyu Pinyin||Huā Mùlán|
Hua Mulan (Chinese: 花木蘭; Mandarin Pinyin: Huā Mùlán; Wade–Giles: Hwa1 Mu4-lan2; Jyutping: Faa1 Muk6 laan4) is a legendary figure from ancient China who was originally described in a Chinese poem known as the Ballad of Mulan (木蘭辭). In the poem, Hua Mulan takes her aged father's place in the army. She fought for twelve years and gained high merit, but she refused any reward and retired to her hometown instead.
The Ballad of Mulan was first transcribed in the Musical Records of Old and New (s 古今乐录, t 古今樂錄) in the 6th century, the century before the founding of the Tang Dynasty. The original work no longer exists, and the original text of this poem comes from another work known as the Music Bureau Collection (s 乐府诗, t 樂府詩), an anthology of lyrics, songs, and poems, compiled by Guo Maoqian during the 11th or 12th century. The author explicitly mentions the Musical Records of Old and New as his source for the poem.
The poem is a ballad, meaning that the lines do not necessarily have equal numbers of syllables. The poem consists of 31 couplets, and is mostly composed of five-character phrases, with a few extending to seven or nine.
The story was expanded into a novel during the late Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Over time, the story of Hua Mulan rose in popularity as a folk tale among the Chinese people on the same level as the Butterfly Lovers. It is one of the first poems in Chinese history to support the notion of gender equality.
In Chinese, mùlán (s 木兰, t 木蘭, lit. "wood-orchid") refers to the magnolia. The heroine of the poem is given different family names in different versions of her story. According to History of the Ming, her family name is Zhu (朱）, while the History of the Qing say it is Wei (魏). The family name 花 (Huā, lit. "flower") has become the most popular in recent years in part because of its more poetic meaning.
The poem starts with Mulan worried, as her father has been called to serve in the army. She decides to take his place and bids farewell to her parents. After ten years of fighting, the army returns and the warriors are rewarded. Mulan turns down an official post, and asks only for a swift camel to carry her home. She is greeted with joy by her family. Mulan dons her old clothes and meets her comrades, who are shocked that in their years travelling together, they did not realize that she was a woman.
The story of Hua Mulan has inspired a number of screen and stage adaptations, even without taking into account the many pre-modern Chinese plays and operas about the subject. These modern adaptations include:
- Mulan Joins the Army (1917 play) starring Mei Lanfang
- New Tang Dynasty Television's 2006 Chinese Spectacular featured a stage performance of the story of Mulan.
- Hua Mulan Joins the Army (1927 film) – a Chinese silent film released by the Tianyi Film Company and directed by Li Pingqian.
- Mulan Joins the Army (1928 film) – Mingxing Film Company production, directed by Hou Yao. The film was unsuccessful, in part due to the Tianyi film that was released the previous year.
- Mulan Joins the Army (1939 film) – popular Chinese film made during the war, directed by Bu Wancang.
- Lady General Hua Mulan (1964 film) – Hong Kong opera film.
- Saga of Mulan (1994 film) - Film adaptation of the Chinese opera based on the legend.
- Mulan (1998 film) – Disney animated feature based on the legend of Mulan, and the basis of many derivative works.
- Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (2009 film) – Live action film about the Chinese Legend.
- In Rooster Teeth Productions RWBY (2013), Lie Ren (voiced by Monty Oum) of Team JNPR is a reserved and dutiful warrior of unspecified Asian origin who is written to be a male version of Hua Mulan. He carries the green-bladed twin submachineguns Storm Flower and is childhood friends with Nora Valkyrie.
- TV series
- A Tough Side of a Lady (1998 film) – Hong Kong TVB drama series of Mulan starring Mariane Chan as Hua Mulan.
- Hua Mu Lan (1999 series) – Taiwan CTV period drama serial starring Anita Yuen as Hua Mulan.
- Jamie Chung portrays Mulan in the second and third season of the U.S. TV series Once Upon a Time (2012-2013). On the show, Mulan is portrayed as bisexual. 
- Maxine Hong Kingston re-visited Mulan's tale in her 1975 text, The Woman Warrior. Kingston's version popularized the story in the West and led to an adaptation by Disney, but contained many arbitrary changes that have been widely criticized by other Asian-American scholars, such as Frank Chin.
- The Legend of Mu Lan: A Heroine of Ancient China was the first English language picture book featuring the character Mulan published in the United States in 1992 by Victory Press.
- In the fantasy/alternate history novel Throne of Jade (2006), China's aerial corps is described as being composed of all female captains and their dragons due to the precedent set by the legendary woman warrior.
- Cameron Dokey created 'Wild Orchid' in 2009, a retelling of the Ballad of Mulan as part of the Once Upon A Time series of novels published by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
- In the comic, Deadpool Killustrated (2013), Hua Mulan, along with Natty Bumppo, and Beowulf are brought together by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (using H.G. Wells' time machine) to stop Deadpool from killing all beloved literary characters and destroying the literary universe.
- Dong, Lan. Mulan's Legend and Legacy in China and the United States (Temple University Press; 2010) 263 pages; Traces literary and other images of Mulan from premodern China to contemporary China and the United States.
- Russell, Joel F., Schaber, Gerald G. (March 1993). "Named Venusian craters". In Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Bibcode:1993LPI....24.1219R.
- "Venus Crater Database". Lunar and Planetary Institute of the Universities Space Research Association. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- Hibberd, James (5 July 2012). "'Once Upon a Time' scoop: 'Hangover 2' actress cast as legendary warrior". EW.com. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Nichols, James (15 October 2013). "'Mulan Is Bisexual On 'Once Upon A Time,' Disney-ABC Show'". HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- Hong Kingston, Maxine (1989). The Woman Warrior. New York: Random House, INC. pp. 40–53. ISBN 679-72188-6 Check
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hua Mulan.|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Ode to Mulan The original poem in Chinese and English side-by-side translation.
- The poem in Chinese calligraphy (images), simplified characters, traditional characters, and an English translation
- The poem in printed Chinese, with hyperlinks to definitions and etymologies
- The female individual and the empire: A historicist approach to Mulan and Kingston's woman warrior
- Information on the historical Mu Lan