When We Talk About Mulan, What Are We Talking About?

The only Chinese Disney Princess - Mulan, is making her return to the big screen. Disney is getting the live-action remake treatment of this story of Mulan, the Chinese legend about a young woman who masquerades as a man to go to war. The animation in 1998 gained worldwide popularity and has made Mulan one of the most popular Disney princesses. 


Mulan (1988)


The story of Mulan originally came from a legendary called "Song of Mulan," which is written in the literature textbook of Chinese schools. Almost every Chinese have had doubts since very young:


"How can Mulan not being discovered as a girl after spending so many years in the army? Especially with such a feminine name!"


There could be many guesses for the first question. But her name, according to nowadays perspective, is indeed strange if it led no doubts among her friends in the army. 


The full name of Mulan in China is HUA Mulan. Hua is her family name, and Mulan is her first name. The family name in Chinese means flower." Hua is not necessarily linked to feminine when it is used as family name along, while putting it together with "Mulan" is a different story because Mulan is the Chinese name of magnolia. Meaning, Mulan was carrying a name as “Flower Flower” in that case.



One of the explanations is that the word "Mulan" had a different meaning in ancient times. 


"Mulan's name is not Chinese. Chen's linguistic analysis shows that her name means 'deer or elk' in the ancient Altaic language of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia. "


--The AMAZONS: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World

Adrienne Mayor


Sounds fair!


The Mulan Legends date back to the Northern Wei dynasty of China, as early as around 380AD, which is a dynasty founded by a northern ethical group called Xianbei who had their own language called Xianbei (instead of Han, the common language today), which is believed not that far from Turkic. 


Under such an explanation, Mulan sounds quite neutral. There was a famous male general in the same historical period with his name as HAN Mulan.


All these stories have lost in history. Nowadays, People prefer the story version as a girl with a feminine name, hidden in the army, never been discovered, and became a big hero in the end! What an exciting and romantic story!

The story Mulan has also increased people's love for magnolia flower. The flower language of magnolia is "respectful and noble soul," while the heroine story has given the Mulan spirit to the flower and has made magnolia a popular element in dressing and jewelry. Wearing Mulan is carrying the power of being brave, being different, and being independent as if Mulan is together with us!

Light Stone Mulan Collections

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