Ancient nomadic warrior women may have inspired the Mulan legend

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In Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, Zhao Wei plays Hua Mulan – a character that may have been based on real ancient female warriors

Credit: Collection Christophel/Alamy © Starlight International Media Group

Ancient remains found in the Mongolian steppe suggest that the story of the female warrior Mulan may have been inspired by real Xianbei women who rode horseback and probably also used bows and arrows.

According to folklore, a powerful East Asian ruler demanded every family send one man to swell the ranks of his army, and a girl named Mulan faced a difficult choice: either let her weak father go to war, …