warli art


Etymology:  The word ‘Warli’ originates from the word ‘Warla’ or which also meant a piece of land. Warli folk art is a type of tribal art created mainly by tribes affiliated with the indigenous Warli tribe from Maharashtra. 

Origin: Warli art was started as a ritual of wall painting executed for Warli wedding ceremonies in the homes of the groom and bride by ‘suvasinis’ (married women whose husbands are alive). 

Location:  The Warli community or tribe is situated near the northern region of the Sahyadri Range from the coastal areas along the Maharashtra-Gujarat border. The Warli community resides in Jawhar, Dahanu, Talasari, Mokhada, Vikramgarh, and other rural areas of Maharashtra, India.

Relevance: Saura’s art follows some traits of the Warli art form. Warli and Saura’s art forms vary in traditions, but they share some common motifs and ideas. Both art form is still practised and adopted the contemporary motifs as the need of the hour to sustain.


Significance:  Warli art’s roots can be traced back to the early 10th AD. According to research, the tribes propagated the tradition that originated between 2,500 B.C. and 3000 B.C. In many ways, their paintings resemble those made between 5,000 and 10,000 B.C. in the Madhya Pradesh rock shelters at Bhimbetka.

Culture and Society: The culture in Warli art is the stories, scenarios, subjective and incidents. These paintings are painted on the front side wall of the homes or insides and paintings are made by married women. And the second group of motifs are painted by anyone, usually the young girls of the community.

Religious significance: Generally, Warli art is practised during the wedding or on some religious occasions. These drawings contain symbolic communication with the deities and nature. The Warli community practised and has a strong belief in a certain God and Goddess.

Understanding the Art

Style: Human figures are drawn in basic-simple geometrical shapes. Women are identified by their hair bun. The Warli drawing emphasises the linearity of the line. The faces of the human figure are circular and the arms and legs are linearly drawn.

Central motifs: In Warli paintings, the circular dance formations are not complete without the mention of the ‘tarpa’ as a musical instrument. Each form of this circle represents the circle of life, representing a basic aspect of tribal culture.

warli painting

(Warli, Warli on the wall: The Warli tribe in Maharashtra’s Ganjad draws from life to create unique art, 18/11/2020, Warli on the wall: The Warli tribe in Maharashtra’s Ganjad draws from life to create unique art – Gaonconnection | Your Connection with Rural India)

New Outlook

Warli art has reached new heights, making its presence on the national and international stage by the talented Indian designers and artists in collaboration with Warli artists.

Anita Dongre unveiled her collections at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Fest 2015 under her grassroots label. Whether it’s colourful umbrellas, coffee mugs and tea cups, rustic wall clocks, accents for walls or stationery – Warli is pretty much everywhere.

warli art blogs