A Complete Guide On Warli Art


Warli painting is a tribal art done by Warlis from Northern Sahyadri region in India. The existence of the art form probably dates back to the 10th century AD. The Warli paintings can be said to have resemblance to cave paintings, and are mostly done on the red ochre walls of  huts  that are usually built using a mixture of tree branches, mud and cow dung.

During the ancient times, since the warli paintings were done on red colour mud walls of huts, most of the Warli art, including the recent ones, are made on earthen red coloured background. Warlis are strong believers in God and so Warli paintings that were done during times of festivities, revolve around depiction of God and deities; however, like many other art forms, their favourite subjects include nature and its beauty that includes trees, flowers, animals etc.

Moreover, what sets this art form apart from others is that the paintings also gave great importance to the harvest season. The Warli art is thus mostly about illustrating day-to-day activities of the tribe and are very often based on following themes –festival, folk story, harvest, celebration and marriages.

It may be interesting to know that this is an extremely rudimentary type of art form, with the paintings usually done using fewer characters repeated in cascading/continuous patterns. The basic characters used in warli painting are circle usually representing the sun and the moon; triangle that is derived from their observation of hills and mountains; and square thought to symbolise a sacred enclosure.

Warli paintings on religious subjects notably depict a central character, called the chauk/chaukat, where the goddess of fertility Palghtatta is depicted. The chaukat in these ritual paintings is surrounded by scenes portraying hunting, fishing and farming, festivals and dances, trees and animals.

Over time, Warli paintings have gained a prominence in the art scene and so one can find Warli art-themed handbags, night lamps, wall clocks, art wall hangings and even cards and envelopes.

Posted By Abhilasha

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