Mulan Joins the Army (1939)




Director:     Bu Wancang.

Starring:     Chen Yunchang (Hua Mulan, heroine),  Mei Xi (Lin Yuanda, Mulan's aide and love interest),  Liu Jiqun,  Huang Naishuang,  Han Lan'gen (draftee), Yin Xiushen (draftee).

during the Northern Wei dynasty, a young woman disguises herself as a man in order to take her father's place in the army



Spoiler Warning:





Historical Background:


It is not known whether the story has any factual basis.  It came from a famous Chinese Poem, the Ballad of Mulan, written in the Musical Records of Old and New from the 6th century.  It was set during the Northern Wei dynasty. 


Since the 5th century BC  --  several walls had been built that were referred to as the Great Wall of China.

The Xianbei were a significant nomadic people residing in Manchuria and eastern Mongolia, or Xianbei Shan.  The Xianbei people actually consisted of a federation of sizeable non-Han groups of which the most important was the Tuoba. 

It is thought the dynasty originated from the Tuoba clan of the non-Han Xianbei tribe. The Tuobas renamed themselves the Yuans as a part of systematic Sinicization. 

After the fall of the Han dynasty, the Xianbei formed a number of empires of their own, including the Yan Dynasty, Western Qin, Soulthern Liang and the Northern Wei. 

386-534  --the Northern Wei Dynasty.  Buddhism became firmly established.

4th century (late) - 6th century (late)  --  The Rouran were a confederation of nomadic tribes on the northern borders of Inner China.  Early in Northern Wei history, defense on the northern border against Rouran was heavily emphasized, and military duty on the northern border was considered honored service that was given high recognition.

386-409 – Emperor Daowu of Northern Wei (personal name Tuoba Gui).

391  --  Tuoba Gui attacked and inflicted major damage on Rouran, but was unable to destroy it. Rouran would remain an annoyance, and often a menace, for the rest of Northern Wei's history.

422  --  Emperor Mingyuan created Tuoba Tao the Prince of Taiping.  The Prince headed north to guard against a possible Rouran attack.

424-452 – Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei (personal name Tuoba Tao).

As soon as Emperor Mingyuan died, the Rouran attacked Emperor Taiwu.  Emperor Taiwu became surrounded by Rouran troops, but he fought his way out.  After that, he made nearly yearly attacks against Rouran.  (But the Rourans would retreat north, only to return south after Emperor Taiwu withdrew.)

428  --  Emperor Taiwu  prepared an assault on Rouran.  Rouran had been harassing the northern border again.

429  --  Emperor Taiwu launched a major assault on Rouran.  He surprised the Rouran leader Yujiulü Datan and forced him to flee.  He then chased Yujiulü Datan.  Unbeknownst to the Emperor, he came very close to Yujiulü Datan's position and could have even captured the Rouran khan, but he became timid and called the campaign off. 

431-436 --  the Emperor, by returning some Rouran generals, was able to establish peaceful relations with Rouran.

434  --  Emperor Taiwu took the sister of Rouran Chilian Khan Yujiulü Wuti as an imperial consort and married his sister or cousin Princess Xihai to Yujiulü Wuti.

436  --  Rouran started harassing Northern Wei's northern border regions again.

439  --   unification of northern China under the Northern Wei Dynasty.  

449  --  Tuoba Na inflicted heavy losses on Rouran.  For several years Rouran did not attack the northern areas. 

471-499 – Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei.  He fostered of sinicization.

494 --  the capital was moved from Datong to Luoyang. 

499-515 – Emperor Xuanwu of Northern Wei

528-530 – Emperor Xiaozhuang of Northern Wei.

532-535 – Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei.

1449  --  Ming army defeated in the Battle of Tumu.  They revived building the Great Wall, which is the wall currently existing in China. 


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