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A Deer of Nine Colors (Chinese: 九色鹿; Pinyin: Jiǔ Sè Lù) is a Chinese animated film produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio. It is also referred to as "The Nine Colored Deer".

A Deer of Nine Colors
Directed byQian Jiajun, Dai Tielang
Release date
Running time
30 minutes


Mural in Mogao Cave 257, Dunhuang

The original story is based on the Buddhist Jataka tale of the same name, which were discovered as cave paintings from the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China. The animated plot is essentially a spinoff.[1]


In ancient times, a Persian merchant gets lost in a windstorm. Suddenly a spiritual deer of nine colors appears to guide the man. Later on, the deer rescues a man drowning in a river. In exchange, the man promises not to reveal the deer's whereabouts. The man reaches an imperial palace. The king insists on hunting down the spiritual deer down to make clothes out of the deer skin. The man gives in to his greed and leads an army of warriors to the spot. He falls into the river again, hoping the deer will show up to rescue him. This time, all the warriors' arrows turn into dust and the man is drowned.[2]

The film expands on the story. The deer is first seen rescuing small animals and insects when the tree they live in is blown down in a storm. The deer guides them to safety and persuades flowers to bloom out of season so the bees will have food. Then the deer saves a party of traveling merchants who have lost their way by magically moving the mountains to make a clear path for them. The story that a magical nine-colored deer has come to the country begins to spread among the people. Meanwhile, a man who sells medicinal spells and cures for snakebite is gathering herbs and falls into a lake. He is rescued by the deer and promises not to reveal its whereabouts. However, the vain queen of the land has also heard of the nine-colored deer and begins to pout and sulk, demanding a coat made from its fur. The king posts a huge reward for anyone who can tell him where to find it, and the potion merchant at once decides to betray his vow of secrecy and lead the king's hunters to the deer. The birds who were rescued are terrified and rush to the deer begging it to flee, but the deer is serene, saying it cannot be killed. The potion merchant pretends to be drowning again to bring the deer to the lake, but when it is surrounded and the hunters fire, the deer manifests a halo of divine light and sacred symbols surround it. The arrows turn to dust. The warriors all stand ashamed as the deer berates the potion merchant for his unfaithfulness and greed, and birds fly around him striking the man with pecks until he sinks into the lake.


English Production Crew Original Version Romanized
Screenwriter 编剧 Pan Weizi 潘絜兹
Directors 导演 Qian Jiajun
Dai Tielang
Character Design 人物设计 Hu Yongkai 胡永凯
Background Design 背景设计 Feng Jiannan 冯健男
Animation Design 动画设计 Du Chunpu
Fan Madi
Yang Suying
Xu Xuande
Yin Qimei
Tong Xuezhi
Lu Chengfa
Painted Scene 绘景 You Xianrui
Wang Yini
Photography 摄影 Wang Shirong 王世荣
Composers 作曲 Cai Wei, Wu Yingju 蔡璐、吴应炬
Played by 演奏 Shanghai Film Orchestra 上海电影乐团
Conducted by 指挥 Song Guanghai 宋光海


  1. ^ MM. "MaryMount New York Archived October 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine." "Original Wall Paintings." Retrieved on 2007-02-08.
  2. ^ Taipel Tzuchi. "Taipei Tzuchi Archived February 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine." "Spinoff translation of the same Nine Colored Deer story but not movie plot." Retrieved on 2007-02-08.

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