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Mulan


tokyo_girl
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Hardly an esoteric subject but here goes...

The other day I was watching Mulan with a class of senior high

students. Is there any historical accuracy to this movie

at all - other than China having a great wall and an emperor?

The refered to the invaders - who I took to be Mongolians

as they were breeching the GW - as Hauns (sp?) which

is a bit too suspiciously like Han for my taste. Did Mongols

ever go under such a name? I forget the name of the

head of the invading army - but it seemed like a standard

Chinese family name - maybe Zhang?

Also Mulan's horse was called Khan. This sounded a bit like

the name of an invader to me....

Additionally the capital perhaps was meant to be Xian - very

grid like anyway?

The scenery was something like I would have expected from

Guilin though.. Was this just catering to stereotypical Disney

images?

Does anyone know when it was supposed to be set - or am I reading

to much into Disney?

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The movie is based on a popular Chinese legend. The invaders were Huns, not Hans, and this term refers to all barbarians west of the Great Wall. Zhang is one of the most common Chinese surnames. Don't read to much into the animals' names. Remember that there is also another creature named Mu Shu. Xian indeed was grid like within the old city walls. The yellow loess plateau terrain around Shaanxi province is not pretty enough for Disney standards, so they may have borrowed a little Guilin limestone to appeal to American audiences who believe all of China looks like those traditional paintings anyway.

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Thanks Confucius.

Do you know what the legend is called or when it was

set? I know Zhang is a common Chinese surname -

but wasn't sure if it was also a Mongol name of old.

I didn't realise Hun had broader application than

WW1/ 2 Germany.

Are most of the old capitals grid like?

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Not really answering the question, but I was in China when the film was released (on pirate VCD, that is) and it was quite popular. However, when I asked people after they'd watched it what they thought of it, I quite often got the answer 'Stupid'. Why. . ?

"Because dragons can't talk"

Roddy

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MUlan was a female hero in 1400 years ago...,I'm not sure if it's only a story.

but HUn is true......

hun was an old brave nation in history,it called Xiong Nu in chinese.but till now,this HUn nation has been changed to be some new nation in the world. some are mongols ,some are arabian nation ,and some are European.

hun's homeland should be in mongolia and west of china area in many years ago.

In A.d. 91,Hun began to migrate to western world, because they stoped the long time war with Han nation,they think they should go to find a new nice place....

[/b]

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Thanks Seahorse

Roddy I decided to show it to Japanese students

- all girls school - I thought a movie with a strong

female character was a good idea - after seeing

the mangas etc that are taken as being normal here....

They loved it - talking dragon and all!

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Mulan's story from a long poem, which suppoesd to happen in the period called Nan Bei Chao. It is the most chaotic period of China or the era of darkness(400-600A.D.), especially in North China. Many barbarians including the ever-surrended Huns, flooded into north China, mixed with Han and fought with each other. The poem is quite strange, in the first half the emperor is called "Khan" that is barbarians' name but in the last half, he is called "tianzi"-"son of heavon"-han's name. So, I thought Mulan must come from North Wei, who used Han's system and adopted Han's culture completely. The barbarians they fought against were something like Dingling, Rouran or Kitan. At that time, no "Mango" that term exist and Hun became history already.

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actually what matters most is the moral of the story. it's about filial piety of a daughter who takes up the responsibility to replace her aging father in the army. apart from that, it's so famous because women too can do what man could do.

that's the moral of the story.

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its from a folklore, a poem named 'song of mulan' i think. it happens in the north and south dyanasty. northern china was overrun by various nomadic races, and huns are one of them. some of them adapted chinese cultures and had given themselves chinese surnames and first names. the han people retreated to south of the yang tze river, the capital is probably present nanking.

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  • 1 month later...

Have not watched the movie (thought the cartoon was ugly). But the poem you talked about is in the textbook of all HK high school kids (or at least this was the case). It is an "ancient poem", very long, and tells almost the whole story. It is a beautiful and, shall I say, musical poem. If you are interested, you can read the poem here -

http://huhai.myrice.com/poem/mulan.htm (Chinese)

http://hk.geocities.com/freefreefeeling/mulan_eng.htm (English translation)

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

As Cladding said, Mulan was living in the northern Wei kingdom which was set up by a so-called barbarian tribe.

But here is an interesting question.

What the poem and the animated movie portrayed were actually battles waged between a "Barbarian" kingdom and a "Barbaric" tribe. (Mulan might not be but her king was definitely a barbarian.)

So why did the poem and the movie glorify one side and stigmatize the other side?

It was because the Northern Wei kingdom voluntarily "sinicized" -- changed into Han clothes, ate Chinese food and adopted Chinese names. They even moved their capital into then cultural center of China -- Loyang.

So even though the Wei Court was barbarian, they became "civilized" after they adopted the Chinese way per Chinese historians.

In glorifying one side and stigmatizing the other side in the movie, Disney unknowingly adopted and conformed to the Chinese world view!

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  • 1 month later...

There are, of course, other American viewpoints. Mine is that the Xiong Nu came from the Altai, possibly to re-invade China, having once lived there. The term Dingling to denote an ethnic population is interesting, it can mean 'master of the hearth.' Yet, it is not too far-fetched to suggest rather than something kitchen-ey, homey, Dingling 'master of the forge.' This places us in a more strategic position when we consider that the Altai was certainly a very early center for metallurgy. Mongolian shamans would throw molten tin into the river during ritual, for example.

The Dingling could also have been Chinese themselves, for there is evidence to suggest that this group were driven from China for one reason or another, and that they migrated across the Tien Shan toward the Altai. Both silk production and metallurgy in ne China may go back 7,000 years. At any rate, the meanings of an early writing form, the Yennisey runes are yet to be completely elucidated, and may yield important clues.

'Do not say that the Golden Needle will not be passed down. Deep in the moon and breeze of Chang-men, the Tao-tieh lives on.

(some Taoist)

Regards,

Mat

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hardly an esoteric subject but here goes...

The other day I was watching Mulan with a class of senior high

students. Is there any historical accuracy to this movie

at all - other than China having a great wall and an emperor?

The refered to the invaders - who I took to be Mongolians

as they were breeching the GW - as Hauns (sp?) which

is a bit too suspiciously like Han for my taste. Did Mongols

ever go under such a name? I forget the name of the

head of the invading army - but it seemed like a standard

Chinese family name - maybe Zhang?

Also Mulan's horse was called Khan. This sounded a bit like

the name of an invader to me....

Additionally the capital perhaps was meant to be Xian - very

grid like anyway?

The invaders were neither Han nor Mongols, but Huns (may have sounded like Huan to you), a nomadic people who frequently raided settled folk.

The Hun leader was not called Zhang in the film or in real life; he was called ShanYu, which is a generic Hunnic kingly title, I believe.

I haven't seen a horse's name mentioned in the original Ode to Mulan poem.

The capital at the time was in fact Xian; it was later moved North and East to Beijing, in the Forbidden City. It was a very large and grand city.

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i don't even bother reading the articles above...because the story of Mulan is just a legend...no one really knows if there is such a person. Imagine, a woman in the army for years and no one finds out she's a woman. if that is really the case, then people are really stupid back then.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The movie wasn't very accurate to the actual legend/story/happening. But then, which Disney movie is?

The invaders were actually Huns, not Hans. Hans are the chinese themselves.

Note: I am telling this like the story as I heard it, I'm not sayingit is actually true.

Hua Mulan was the middle child in a family of three siblings, she had an elder sister and a younger brother. One day, marching orders came for her father who was really too old, say about sixty, to fight the invading barbarians.

Mulan was outraged, and wanted to go in her father's place. He AGREED. She did not sneak off as shown in the Disney Movie. And this is the part I find rather odd actually, but then, she was the middle child, and not a boy at that.

She won honors in war, and the general wanted her to marry his daughter as an 'honor'. Of course, Mulan couldn't do it. In the end she rode home, and when the army generals came after her to honor her, she revealed that she was a woman.

Then they all had a jolly good time, and so history was made, etc, etc.

Technically, the whole story here is to showcase filial piety.

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