Hua Mulan (traditional Chinese: 花木蘭; simplified Chinese: 花木兰) was a female warrior from Northern and Southern dynasties (4th to 6th century AD) of Chinese history. According to the legend, Mulan takes her aged father's place in the conscription for the army by disguising herself as a man. After prolonged and distinguished military service against nomadic hordes beyond the northern frontier, Mulan is honored by the emperor but declines a position of high office. She retires to her hometown, where she is reunited with her family and reveals her sex, much to the astonishment of her comrades.
The first written record of Mulan is the Ballad of Mulan[note 1], a folk song believed to have been composed during the Northern Wei (386–535) and compiled in an anthology of books and songs in the Southern Chen (557–589). The historic setting of Ballad of Mulan is usually the Northern Wei's military campaigns against the nomadic Rouran. A later adaptation has Mulan active around the founding of the Tang c. 620. The story of Hua Mulan was taken up in a number of later works, including the 16th-century historical fiction Romance of Sui and Tang[note 2], and many screen and stage adaptations. The Hua Mulan crater on Venus is named after her.