True Story Behind Disney's Princess Hua Mulan

Hua Mulan
(Photo :

It is safe to say that most people in the whole world has had Disney as a part of their life, especially one's childhood. As for little girls even before in the 1900s, many of them have admired Disney's classical princess movies, such as Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, Little Mermaid and many more. 

One of the most unique Disney princess movies is Mulan, which is one of the first few movies Disney produced with an Asian lead. However, there is more to just knowing Mulan and her dragon best friend Mushu, for the story of the fearless girl, has its own unique origin and story all the way from China.

Before Mulan was showed in the movies

Long before Mulan captivated many Disney fans' hearts, the popular Disney heroine is not just a character who became a princess, but Hua Mulan was one of the most inspiring people in Chinese history for the young generation in China. In fact, she was a Chinese legend that had existed way back in the 6th century, and not many people know that. 

Hua Mulan
(Photo : Wikimedia)

However, many people also wonder if Hua Mulan is only a legend from ancient Chinese lore or if she really did exist as a real person in the past. The answer lies in this article.

Hua Mulan: The Legend

The legend of the woman warrior Hua Mulan has passed from generation to generation even up until this day. The legend has survived many years, and although her name has been in many iterations of poetry, songs, plays, and films, it is still a mystery as to if she really did exist. 

Many people today only know her because of the animated Disney movie, but the first transcription where her story came was from a folk song titled "The Ballad of Mulan."

Hua Mulan
(Photo : Wikimedia)

According to the ballad, it tells Mulan's original story about her disguising herself as a man to protect her father from being stationed into war. Hua Mulan became a soldier and has been in battle for 12 years, and through those many years, she was able to gain skills and has become an esteemed warrior of the Chinese army. However, when the emperor tried to bestow honors for her hard-earned service, she retires from the army and went back home to her family.

The story was originally and first written in the Musical Records of Old and New during the 6th century. However, during the 11th and 12th centuries, it was then reproduced by Guo Maoqian in the Music Bureau Collection, and the story of the brave heroine was shown in a much larger audience.

As the years went by, Hua Mulan's story became so popular that is was adapted to many books and plays. There were also Chinese artists who reinvented the legend and during dark times in China to give the people a shed of light and comfort. 

Other iterations of Hua Mulan

Hua Mulan
(Photo : Wikimedia)

One of the most popular and loved iterations of Hua Mulan's story is the one that famous Chinese playwright and prominent late-Ming Dynasty Xu Wei did, which is The Female Mulan Joins The Army In Place of Her Father in the 16th century.  He was the first one to put the name "Hua" in the warrior's name, which is a surname that means "flower" in Chinese. 

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Hua Mulan, animated Disney, history, China, Chinese history, Chinese legend, Chinese folklore

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