The real story of "Mulan" is told in the Wu Shang Puo which could be translated as "Book of Unequalled Legendary Heroes" or "Book of Nonpareil" which in either case is the title of an unofficial list recording "the thirty nine heroes in the eyes of the common folks throughout the Chinese History". In this book, hero number 31 is Fa Mu Lan.
Fa Mu Lan was an only daughter and lived in Shang Yau town during Southern Dynasties to Northern Dynasties (256-581 AD). When the border was invaded by the barbarians, Fa Mu Lan's old father was re-drafted to report to the emperor's army, or he could send a son instead. Fa disguised herself as the family's son, fought for twelve years and returned to her village in triumph.
Unfortunately there is more to it. In the Yin Kok village of Shang Yau town, the village book has this entry, "Mu Lan's disguise revealed (after war was won), the emperor wished to summon her and keep her in Court. Mu Lan committed suicide. The Emperor was shocked, bestowed her the title of the General Hau Liu (the General of Abide and Fire). Today a Mu Lan Temple stands in Shang Yau, Yin Kok Villege, that is where Fa was born.
This story as well as other illustrations from this list occurs as porcelain decoration where sets of heroes could be depicted in sequences.