|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: Hua1 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 is mostly composed of five-character phrases, with just 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.
Ballad of Mulan 
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- The sound of one sigh after another, As Mulan weaves at the doorway.
- No sound of the loom and shuttle, Only that of the girl lamenting.
- Ask her of whom she thinks, Ask her for whom she longs.
- "There is no one I think of, There is no one I long for.
- Last night I saw the army notice, The emperor is calling a great draft.
- A dozen volumes of battle rolls, Each one with my father's name.
- My father has no grown-up son, And I have no elder brother.
- I'm willing to buy a horse and saddle, To go to battle in my father's place."
- She buys a fine steed at the east market; A saddle and blanket at the west market
- A bridle at the south market; And a long whip at the north market.
- She takes leave of her parents at dawn, To camp beside the Yellow River at dusk.
- No sound of her parents hailing their girl, Just the rumbling waters of the Yellow River.
- She leaves the Yellow River at dawn, To reach the Black Mountains by dusk.
- No sound of her parents hailing their girl, Just the cries of barbarian cavalry in the Yan hills.
- Ten thousand miles she rode in war, Crossing passes and mountains as if on a wing.
- On the northern air comes the sentry's gong, Cold light shines on her coat of steel.
- The general dead after a hundred battles, The warriors return after ten years.
- They return to see the Son of Heaven, Who sits in the Hall of Brilliance.
- The rolls of merit spin a dozen times, Rewards in the hundreds and thousands.
- The emperor asks her what she desires, "I've no need for the post of a gentleman official,
- I ask to borrow a camel fleet of foot, To carry me back to my hometown."
- Her parents hearing their girl returns, Out to the suburbs to welcome her back.
- Elder sister hearing her sister returns, Adjusts her rouge by the doorway.
- Little brother hearing his sister returns, Sharpens his knife for pigs and lamb.
- "I open my east chamber door, And sit on my west chamber bed.
- I take off my battle cloak, And put on my old-time clothes.
- I adjust my wispy hair at the window sill, And apply my bisque makeup by the mirror.
- I step out to see my comrades-in-arms, They are all surprised and astounded:
- 'We travelled twelve years together, Yet didn't realize Mulan was a lady!'"
- The male rabbit is swifter of foot, The eyes of the female are somewhat smaller.
- But when the two rabbits run side by side, How can you tell the female from the male?
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.
In popular culture 
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 the following:
- 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.
- A Tough Side of a Lady (1998 film) – Hong Kong TVB drama series of Mulan starring Mariane Chan as Hua Mu Lan.
- Mulan (1998 film) – Disney animated feature based on the legend of Mulan, and the basis of many derivative works.
- Hua Mu Lan (1999 series) – Taiwan CTV period drama serial starring Anita Yuen as Hua Mu Lan.
- Mulan II (2004 film) – Sequel to Disney's Mulan (1998 film).
- Mulan (2009 film) – Live action film about the Chinese Legend.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- New Tang Dynasty TV's 2006 Chinese Spectacular featured a stage performance of the story of Mulan.
- Jamie Chung portrays Mulan in the second season of the U.S. TV series Once Upon a Time.
- In the fantasy/alternate history novel Throne of Jade, China's aerial corps is described as being composed of all female captains and their dragons due to the precident set by the legendary woman warrior.
- In the comic, Deadpool Killustrated, 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.
See also 
- "Named Venusian craters". In Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. March 1993. Bibcode:1993LPI....24.1219R.
- "Venus Crater Database". Lunar and Planetary Institute of the Universities Space Research Association. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- Hong Kingston, Maxine (1989). The Woman Warrior. New York: Random House, INC. pp. 40–53. ISBN 679-72188-6 Check
- Hibberd, James (5 July 2012). "'Once Upon a Time' scoop: 'Hangover 2' actress cast as legendary warrior". EW.com. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
|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