Warli Painting - The History of a Tribal Art Form


If you’ve ever tried to renovate your house or went out on a hunt for traditional artefacts, you might have come across the term “Warli paintings” or “Warli art, and you would want to know what is warli art & what is warli painting? Read furthermore about the warli art origin, warli art form and find out the great marvels of Warli paintings and their roots!


The great Warli folk painting is a form of tribal art mainly created by tribal people in the northern region of the Sahyadri Range, which comprises cities like Jawhar, Palghar, Dahanu, Talasari, Mokhada, and Vikramgarh of Palghar district, in India. This warli tribal painting art form first originated in Maharashtra, which is still practised frequently. It is believed to be one of the oldest kinds of art forms in history. It is pretty popular in India and has a distinct charm everywhere it is expressed, but it has not gained much recognition outside its territory. Warli art is a folk art of Maharashtra is a set of basic geometric shapes: a circle, a triangle, and a square.

History and Origin of Warli Painting

If you are curious about contemporary warli art, then the warli painting's origin is fascinating. The Warli tribe is one of the largest tribes in India, located outside of the city of dreams- Mumbai. Even though they were close to one of India’s largest cities, the Warli rejected contemporary cultures and lifestyles. 

Warli Painting Information - These paintings seem to be nothing more than Warli figures drawn in whites on rich dark walls to the untrained eye, but a closer inspection shows that Warli is far more than meets the eye. To many, warli art story may seem like just a simple art form of India. Still, the Warli tribes located in mountains and coastal regions in and around Maharashtra and Gujarat's borders are warli painting states. If you ask how old warli art is, then the origin of Warali art can be traced back to around 3000 BC and seems to have an enigmatic appeal to it. Even though the tribal art style dates back to the 10th century A.D., the Warli paintings form was not known until the 1970s. Although the primary way of life and a significant food source for the tribe was farming, they had great respect for nature and wildlife for the resources they provided for life. On various occasions, this type of painting was mainly centred around the concept of mother nature and its elements. Quite often, multiple parts of nature are the focal points further accentuated in these paintings. A fascinating fact about Warli artists is that they used their clay huts as the backdrop for their masterpieces, much like how ancient people utilised their cave walls as canvases.

Designs and Styles of Warli Paintings

When one looks at a Warli painting, the intricate geometric patterns of flowers, hunting scenes, wedding rituals, and other activities make the paintings stand out. A particular appeal to the painting comes from its beautiful yet delicate patterns. The current trend among fashionistas and home goods brands is to choose these designs and models. As a result, warli tribal art can be found in various products and places around the world.

People from Maharashtra have a unique sense of sentiment attached to warli paintings of Maharashtra because they’ve seen them on the walls of various rural schools and homes way before they gained popularity.

How to make a Warli Painting?

Warli paintings are traditionally practised on mud walls with white paste. This white paste is rice, water, and gum that acts as a critical catalyst. Other bamboo sticks, chewed at the end, act as a paintbrush. They usually carry a close resemblance to prehistoric cave paintings. If you were to perform a warli art design background today, you could use white paint to draw the caricatures with an ochre experience.

Warli paintings have a limited design vocabulary consisting of dots and dashes arranged linearly to portray a scene. However, one of the most prominent aspects of Warli art is the Tarpa dance.

Evolution of Warli Paintings

Over, the years Warli paintings have evolved drastically. Initially, these beautiful masterpieces were curated on mud walls with a paste of rice and water that was used to paint the characters on the canvas and chewed bamboo sticks were used to act as paintbrushes; since then, warli painting characters came into the picture. But, on the other hand, today the conventional paints and paintbrushes can create an end product just the same!


Other than that, Warli painting, painting of Maharashtra are not just restricted to the traditional mud walls anymore. They’ve expanded on a great scale in the home decor industry and seem to be growing day by day. They are becoming increasingly popular and highly liked, from pots and vases to bedsheets and curtain prints. The textile and clothing industry is fond of this beautiful Indian art form, not just the home decor world. These days witnessing a beautiful Warli painting printed saree adorned by women on the street or the fashion show ramp is a common sight that everyone very much likes!

Where to buy the best Warli Painting Home Decor?

Warli painting home decor and products are highly trending these days, and the trend is most likely here to stay for a long time! The critical thing about Warli home decor is that you must buy it from trusted websites like ExclusiveLane. Check out the exciting collection of Warli painting products brought to you by ExclusiveLane and bring home a piece of excellent Warli painting product to your humble residence. Explore through the collection of unique products that range from Wooden nameplates and  Wooden lamps and add a valuable piece of Indian art to your carefully designed home!


  • Yojoh

    Your blog is very helpful for my knowledge. Thanks for such a wonderful information. I have also seen and bought some from this website . I will drop the link here https://store.sellerapp.in/en/store/null/1372707

  • Harry Goyal

    Good drawings.

  • Priya

    Very nice

  • ana

    Wow very nice information. Recently just got my hands on Penkraft Warli art chopping board so I purchased their product and the quality was so good . It comes good packing so that it will not break in transit . Surely buying other art forms next time .

  • krupali

    always a pleasure reading blogs about ancient art forms of india so much that i got to know about warli paintings thankyou

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