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Archibald Herman Müller's Controversial Art: Misrepresenting Mughal Emperors & Its Consequences

March 14, 1917
Archibald Herman Müller
Art and Calligraphy
Babur II 1881-1920



Archibald Herman Müller, a German-Indian artist, is known for his captivating paintings, but some of his works have sparked controversy for their derogatory portrayal of Mughal emperors. One such piece, "A Mughal Emperor Startled by a Female Apparition Dancing," has raised questions about the accuracy of Müller's representations. The painting depicts a Mughal emperor being startled by a female dancer, but it inaccurately portrays Mughal emperors as most were not known for watching dances during their reigns. Such misrepresentations can perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions about the Mughal rulers and their cultural values. While artists often take creative liberties when depicting historical figures or events, it is essential to strike a balance between artistic expression and historical accuracy to avoid distorting history and perpetuating false narratives. Historical misrepresentations in art can reinforce stereotypes, promote false narratives, and lead to misunderstandings about the past. In Müller's case, the negative portrayal of Mughal emperors may contribute to a skewed perception of their reigns and their contributions to Indian culture and history. It is important to question and critique such representations to promote a more nuanced understanding of history and foster a greater appreciation for the diverse cultures that have shaped our world. By promoting historical accuracy in art, we can avoid perpetuating false narratives and stereotypes, and instead, create a more informed and respectful depiction of our shared past.

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Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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