กก
Art Q&A > Literature
Advanced Search
E-Mail This Article Print Friendly Format
Ballad of Mulan

The Ballad of Mulan is a feature-length narrative poem epic by an anonymous woman poet in the Northern Wei (386-534) in the Northern Dynasties Period (386-581) in China.

The Northern Dynasties in China were characterized by fighting among different nomadic tribes in North China and their invasion, dominance and rule over indigenous Chinese Han people. The poem tells the story of Mulan, the legendary heroine, who went into the draft of the Khan in his father's place, fought the invaders courageously, and returned home triumphant. Her comrades did not know the warrior was a woman for all their years on the battlefield, and were totally shocked when back at her village, she finally appeared in her lady's clothes and looks.

The poem is composed in the song form of Yuefu. This style was derived from folk songs, often narrative poems accompanied by music. The legend of Mulan was the subject of subsequent literary works. It was developed into a novel during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Mulan also became the heroine of a play by Xu Wei, who called her Hua Mulan.

The Ballad of Mulan eulogizes the industry and goodness of the lady, her enthusiasm to protect the nation, as well as her graceful bearing. It not only shows the widespread warlike ethos, but also demonstrates the chaos caused by continuous wars, and people's yearning for peaceful and stable life. The work boasts special features in terms of expressing the clou and artistic techniques, having far-reaching influence on the later generations.  

The story of Mulan has been deep rooted in people's mind and is popular far and wide. It is recorded in historical documents that in Huanggang County of Huangzhou (present-day Huanggang of Hubei Province), there was the Mulan Mountain, Mulan County and the Mulan Temple. In today's Boxian County of Anhui Province, Shangqiu of Henan Province, Wanxian County of Hebei Province and other places, there were once temples to fete Mulan. Even today, the image of Mulan on the stage still inspires people with her patriotic sentiment.

All rights reserved. Reproduction of text for non-commercial purposes is permitted provided that both the source and author are acknowledged and a notifying email is sent to us.