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Who always speaks her mind by shoomlah Who always speaks her mind by shoomlah
Sooooo Mulan. It's not that I didn't want to do Mulan (she's fantastic so far as the Disney "princesses" go), but pinning down her time period stopped being fun and rapidly became a headache- you have the original legend taking place in the Wei Dynasty, the Huns as an actual threat during the Western Han Dynasty, the Forbidden City of the Ming Dynasty, the hanfu fashion setting it earlier AGHGHGhjffjhfghgjhkh

On that note, I'll be the first to admit that this piece isn't tying Mulan down to a particular period, rather putting her in plausible historical textiles and hanfu. When I was asking around for references most of the stuff sent my way were from Chinese period films or other modern recreations, so I just threw up my hands and decided to have fun with it.

It's based on Mulan's finale/epilogue costume at the end of the film; she never seemed at home in either the matchmaker costume or the armor, so this seemed like the best "Mulan has come into her own" middle ground.


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rosewitchcat Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2018
Rebelling-Lemming Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018
Great art!
AuroraExecutionchan Featured By Owner May 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Agh, I have so much to sayyyyy.  I love Mulan, I love your art of her, and I'm also a costuming/historical fashion nerd, so. 

I know what people mean about the film having its problems, but I also loved it growing up as a little Chinese girl because it showed a badass female character who very specifically (at the time, at least) wasn't a princess, just some girl doing her best.  And on the one hand, I figure if it helps with representation or it helps people learn about her, her being an official Princess isn't the worst thing, I personally prefer as not-a-princess-just-badass.  So I love that you chose to portray her without all the frills and jewels that Disney sometimes does nowadays.

I also noticed Disney's lack of commitment to a specific time period, and the jumping around of the hanfu styles.  (This is what happens when I try to sew an actual hanfu version of her costume.  >.>)  I really appreciate that you /didn't/ tie it to the Tang dynasty, because that's always the most popular fashion style (and Disney transposed her there after she became a Princess TM), and I personally feel like it's a bit overused, plus nothing about either the film or the original source are Tang.  I get why you didn't go for a particular time period, but I'm kind of in love with the fact that her outfit is heavily N/S dynasties influenced.  *_*  And the fact that it's super well researched, and definitely an actual hanfu rather than just some fantasy "Asian-inspired" thing.  Basically I'm just super appreciative that you did your research.

You probably already know this, but the source poem was written in the Northern and Southern dynasties, specifically the Northern Wei.  Growing up as Chinese, my mom always told me she was from this era, although I guess there's no real info beyond the poem. 

As a side note, it's interesting to me that the poem was written in the /Northern/ kingdom, which was ruled over by nomadic invaders (the Xianbei) rather than Han Chinese.  The poem uses terminology specifically pointing to this (e.g. the "ke han" aka khan is drafting an army, rather than the traditional term for emperor), and ironically you get more of a sense of this in Mulan II, where she's going to the southern kingdom to create an alliance.  But then again, the emperor in the film is pretty traditional looking?  IDK Disney, this timeline is weird.  (It's like how I could never figure out what her family's class status was based on the original film.  What kind of clothes she'd wear and what kind of materials they'd be made of would probably be influenced by that.  I feel your timeline pain, bruh.)

...sorry, I talk too much.  I'm just really excited someone cared about hanfu and historical costuming enough to get this right.  <3 <3
shoomlah Featured By Owner May 23, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
thanks so much for the feedback and info, I love hearing this kind of stuff! Especially from someone who clearly knows what they're talking about and then some. :D
Zoelle07 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2016  Hobbyist
Love it !
RabidDrawing Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll make good art.....
Gabreya1990 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2016  Student General Artist
magic-of-imagination Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Samurai mulan is best mulan
PiperInle Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
TomboyJessie13 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the blue dress looks better in this style 
BumbleCat1 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2016
Gorgeous as always
MariaAthenaYu Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2015  Student General Artist
At least you tried...
YouloudeFanyou Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ScooterDracon Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2015  Student General Artist
Favorite Disney character of all time right there!!!! Yeah, the movie pretty much got it right.
Lareponseest42 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I LOVE this one... But in fact, i love them all, so i'll stop to spam you with comments x)
Just know you have a fan out there ^^
Ashruka-Krusnik Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love it!!!!
urzapw2000 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015
very nice!
Convenient-Alias Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Student General Artist
I know you did this a while ago but I would just like to say that it's ridiculously amazingly gorgeous.
TheRainyAsian Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
Nice job on the jade pendent for Mulan. Looks exactly like one I have.
RebellingLemming Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great character!
Li-flower Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2015
I really appreciate the effort you put into research, and I think it's cool that you didn't tie her down to a specific period.  It makes her timeless, like the legend.
ejcapulet Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015
Wow - you really nailed it! From what I know about traditional Chinese attire, the placement of the sash and waist skirt (the black thing on her hips and middle) is the big indicator of time period.  It worked its way from waist level to over the breast then back down again.  From what I've seen (I'm a museum/history junkie who lived in China for quite a while), the sash seemed to spend most of its time right were you put it.  The one single and only criticism I could ever find is that the sash charm, if possible, was supposed to be tied under the waist skirt so only the charm and tassel could be seen.  A clinking sash charm was a major faux pas back then.  However, that would put this image totally out of balance and just wouldn't work.
Lady-Akeru Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I would love have this in a print
orangeCrates Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015
Trying to pin her down to a single period is hard enough but finding a historically correct reference can be even harder. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY TOO LATE. But I know 衔泥小筑 is a store that make hanfu that are meant to look historically accurate. They have modern day clothes influenced by hanfu too but the bulk of their stuff is traditional hanfu and the hanfu influenced stuff is kept in its own category. So they're modern creations but meant to not look modern. Like all of their things have ties. No zippers or buttons or, heaven forbid, lace anywhere to be found. It's not the only one, but when I was shopping around to buy historically accurate hanfu this was the only one that was in my price range, haha...ha.

There store on Taobao is here if you want to check them out:

But yeah. Not all modern recreations and periid dramas are made equal. Some of them just blatantly ignore history. (No seriously lace????)

There was also a fantastic hanfu resource I saw a while back but I cannot find it. :(

The textures you used are fantastic by the way! I really love the way you draw fabrics!
JoeEngland Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional General Artist
Your work is simply exquisite.  I've always been of the mind that if you really put effort into a piece of art it shows through to the final product, even if only subliminally.
S-betatti Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2015  Student Artist
I love her outfit here =)
joeabuy1000 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Speaking of which, the details of the Imperial City Palace in Mulan isn't exactly a 1:1 of the Forbidden City, so I've assumed at one point that it's a previously built Imperial palace fitting the actual setting of the film (if we're going with Han as the filmmakers did, it'd likely be Chang'an or Louyang). I can see where the confusion comes from, though; the palace facade resembles (but isn't completely like) the Forbidden City's Meridian Gate. The absence of stairs is one of the biggest key differences. 
LionessJhr Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Mulan is totally my favourite Disney Princess. Once again, I dig these for the detail put into them. Disney's "Mulan" kinda disappoints in that department but that's ok, I still love this movie.
Dragon-hime Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
Very good work!!!
AzalieFinrandi Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014
This might be my favorite of the series; you are right - it totally fits her.
TheNewDorothyGale Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014
I love that she still has the jade necklace. like a small sign that she's feminine and not ashamed of it or anything, as too many people seem to mistake her for this masculine tomboy when she's really not (the whole part where she takes Shanyu's sword with a fan, a symbol of femininity, is a good sign of that!).
Ixbran Featured By Owner May 30, 2014
Yea, the legend of Hua Mulan has been told through many centuries of Chinas history. From what I've read the story had been told since before the Later Wei era of China, and no one really knows when the legend was first told or how long it had been told before that.

But I must say my favorite part of this piece is the gade ornament hanging from her hips. From what I've read online, Jade in Chinese Culture, represents human virtues due to its hardness, durability, and (moral) beauty. And I feel those represent Mulan her self very well.
LightxLove Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I can imagine the headache you had in order to do this :S China's traditional fashion is sooo numerous! And it changes quickly depending on place and dynasty :S
But you delivered a very good redemption ^^ Gorgeous work!
WickedEgg Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
ah! this is beautiful! I love the colors :)
FoxboyPrower Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014
Found this via this:
Good thing you use watermarks. That's how I was able to search for this.
MrOneEars Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Bravo! Beautiful work!
WeaponX-23 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014
Oh my God the love I'm feeling right now is insane. You actually get it, the pink matchmaker dress is her at her lowers point in the movie and she isn't entirely happy pretending to be someone else! One of my biggest gripes about how she is portrayed (especially by Disney...) is they tend to put her in that matchmaker dress. This is happy Mulan who has come into her own and learned to be proud of herself. Also you include her as a princess because she freaking is (not just by Disney's standards either...). Oh, and it's amazing artwork but hearing what you have to say about the periods and why you chose to use certain outfits from the film as the ones made historically accurate makes me appreciate it more.
nixequeen45 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
While I do not agree with you on her being a princess, I'm completely with you on the matchmaker outfit.

It's meant to be symbolic, and not symbolizing anything positive, for this character. Unfortunately, marketing companies are too stupid to understand this, and proceed to use it as a means of cashing in. Thankfully, this isn't really being tolerated, anymore. Cases like the Merida Dress Incident are proof that people are calling bull, when they see it, and that they're being listened to.
First, I don't mean any of this to sound rude (I tend to say things really bluntly so don't be offended) but:

how is that stupid? putting her in the dress people will WANT TO BUY is being smart. and it's a gorgeous dress too. If I could afford one of the dolls I'd love one of her in her bride gown.

and the Merida thing was so dumb. proof grown adults are so bored and petty they'll make a petition about a harmless (and gorgeous) dress a Disney girl wears, and shows nobody gets the whole ending of Brave, where Merida is no longer against tradition but has compromised with her mom. the point of the franchise is to make money marketing to little girls what little girls like... which is dresses, crowds and sparkles. That's just common sense. Unfortunately, Disney didn't stop because people "called bull", it's because Disney is concerned with making money as I said, and if they think politically correct, screaming parents will no longer buy their sparkle-loving daughters the dolls, they'll fix it ASAP. This is embarrassing and shows how much our culture despises femininity.

and I think you both missed it- Mulan isn't unhappy in the matchmaker's gown. She was perfectly fine till the cricket screwed her up and THEN she felt bad because she blamed herself. it's her as Ping people mistake for Mulan, not for Mulan in the dress.
nixequeen45 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I get all that, yeah, but I still stand by my opinion.
Leo-Pheonix Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
I think Mulan is the best Disney "princess". She saves the general's son, twice! Nice interpretation! 
TheSnowe Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014
I know xD
She's the badass one who saved the world while everyone else was marrying their "true love"
BeccaLeeRobinson Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
This is great considering the story originates with the Northern Wei and since they were nomadic Tuoba at one point you pinned down a great choice. I love the stylization of all the images blended with the historical accuracy! I hope to see more!
GoldenKnight57 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013  Student
This one is lovely too!
NisaFee Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your style with this! A well done drawing of my favourite Disney character- brilliant.
CrystalSetsuna Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013
very nice choice for the middle ground option. i love the skirt, but the pattern on the top kind of throws me off.@_@ beautiful colors no double, but the bubbles. never put Mulan as a bubble person...maybe cherry blossoms? they did have significance in the movie, and in asian cultures..i do like the pendulum hanging from her sash though! a bit more jade and tassles! you can never go wrong with tassles!^^
shoomlah Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
It's a traditional mandala fabric pattern, not bubbles I'm afraid.
CrystalSetsuna Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013
well i am referring to the pattern, they remind me of bubbles.
name-already-chosen Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013
Nicely done!
blackkiteekat Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013
THANK YOU FOR FIXING TO GORRAM SWORD! I love Mulan, but I can't look at Shan Yu's sword without wondering if his smith was really drunk...
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Submitted on
September 26, 2011
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