about warli art


The tribal (warli, malharkoli) of Thane district in Maharashtra make Warli paintings. They do not consist of the myriad primary colours, so intimately associated with folk painting in India. Instead they are painted on an austere brown surface with the use of only one colour-white The only exception are red and yellow auspicious dots which are used to decorate the painting. The first impression of sobriety, however, is countered by the ebullience of the thems depicted. Men, animals and trees from a loose, rhythmic pattern across the entire sheet. This results in a light swinging and swirling movement, describing the day to day activities of the Warlis. Warli art was first discovered in early seventies. In many important respects, it was different from the folk and tribal idiom known to urban India till then. It did not narrate mythological stories in vibrant as did the Madhubani paintings of Mithila, nor did it contain the robust sensuality of the pata paintings found in the districts of Bengal, Orissa or Rajasthan.

Warli painting though essentially the same, depicting the marriage ceremony with the vegetation goddess in the center, her guardian in a side cauk and a surrounding landscape in which the preparations for the wedding are taking place, are far from repetitive for there are considerable differences in form and content between one area and another.
The Warli are short in stature with dark, burnt complexions and broad physical features. They share a connon religious awe of the Tiger God and roughly carved wooden statues of him can be found installed in all parts of the district.

Agriculture is their main occupation and provides bare sustenance to the Warlis. With paddy as their main crop, harvested once a year, there is little or no surplus for the coming year. An average of two to three acres for a family of five is barely sufficient for the year and the summer months find the Warlis looking for part-time jobs.The men of the family work during summer on other farm, constructing bunds, in bricks factories, repairing road for the Government or with the forest department.
The women lend a helping hand by cutting grass to be sold in the market.
The rough and rugged foothiils of the Sahyadri range, which comprise the main part of Thane, afford easy refuge to those who shun contact with the outside world.The undulating landscape, leading to higher and more invincible hills in the east which forms a natural boundary between thane and the rest of the state. The Warlis live in the rugged part of the country and keep much to themselves and have their own social organisation.The is no caste differentiation among them.

Origin :
Warlis clearly assert their identity as separate from the other tribes ad claim that they have been so called since the time of their earliest ancestors. The language of the Warlis contains many Sanskrit, Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi words. The art of the Warlis at any rate seems to belong to the phase classified as Neolithic in the rock paintings of central India. We see that this period is characterized by paintings done in white outline, triangular humans and animals with geometrical designs on the walls of the caves.
In the Warli area along with the general similarity of the rice paintings to those in the caves, the sudden emergence of a deer, its body covered with diagonals and bearing a striking resemblance to the deer, of the rock paintintgs, Point unmistakably to this period. It seems more likely then, that the Warli are the propagators of a tradition which first originates somewhere in the Neolithic period between 2500BC and 3000Bc.
The women leave their husbands frequently is surprising in view of the fact that theirs is a patriarchal society with the man as the head of the households. In many Warli house, the man keeps as many as four or five wives. Then again, while he can marry as times as he likes, the women cannot marry again. Indeed many the rituals of the Warlis refer to the Great Mother as in the song of Kansari or the “Bhagats” song during the wedding. In addition the presence of the marriage goddess, “Palaghat” looming large in the wall paintings points unmistakably to an all pervasive cult of the mother goddess which exercises considerable influence to this day.
The Warlis clearly assert their identity as separate from the other tribes and claim that they have been so called since the time of their earliest ancestors.

Harvest festival:
The agricultural season for the Warlis begins around ‘Vasishaka’(May). With the first rains In Jyestha (June) the paddy seeds are planted. Then the people are busy with agriculture. From the month of ‘Bhadrapada’(Sept) the people begin harvesting. The celebration of the of the “Cheda puja,” every year during harvest, when the people have enough money, is both an act of thanks giving as well as a re-enactment of the first event of settling down at place. The festival of the Tiger God takes place in the month of ‘Karthik’(nov) in the second fortnight, when the villagers can donate enough money from their harvests. The ritual begins with the story of “Vaghasdeva” ( the Tiger God) being sung and the others come to listnn to it. The song continues the whole night and day. The women do not take part in the celebration. No work goes on in the field during this time.
With the festival of the ‘Tiger God’over the villagers begin preparing for the puja of ‘Kansari’-the Corn Goddess. When the paddy has been cut and stacked in front of huts, threshing cannot take place till the goddess has been propitiated. The song of Kansari which is sung during this time is a long narration of the story of the Corn Goddess.
Among the many legends about ‘Mahalakshmi’ one is that she provides children to the Warlis but turn vengeful if human sacrifice is not made to her.

Tarapa Dance:
During the three days of Diwali, drinking and dancing are the main rituals for its their thanks giving to natures bountifulness. The dance, which begins during the day, continues throughout the night. They dance in the open space to the tune of the Tarapa played in turns by different men. The dancers never turn their backs to the tarapa but dance facing the tarapa. The dancers move according to the tarapa plaryer, turning and moving as he turned. When the tune of the tarapa changes the dance changes they will continue to dance to the tarapa until the puja of the ‘Tiger God. After that they cannot play the Tarapa and are only allowed to play the ‘Dhhol’(drum) during Holi, after which only the Kahali (flute) is plated.
The notes of the tarapa were a consistent, deep drone through the night to which the dancers moved with unflagging enthusiasm.To The untrained ear it sounded ‘unmusical’ and ‘repetitive’ but consistent listening to it revealed that sound was more like a barely human drone .it seems to consist of one bass note ,which was stretched to it maximum length without any variation The sound essentially expressed a continuity of life in which all living things had to participate.

The marriage season begins usually from the end of Magha(Feb) to Phalguna (March) bringing with it festivity and colour. This is also the culmination of the ritual cycle of the year, the last cat necessary to activate the forces of nature. The Warlis believe that with the marriage of the bride and the bridegroom, all the living things are fertilized reenergize into creativity. Every single marriage then, is a cosmic event and the long process of marriage ritual, desinged a it is to affect creation, is carefully observed according to convention. Unlike the Hindus it is the bridegroom who has to pay the bride price for the bride. A white paste for the painting is prepared for the painting by sieving the rice flour. Then the wall was leaped with cowdung over which geru(red mud) was smeared. Two savasinis (Women shoes husbands are alive) first make a chaukat (Square) and then the goddess palaghata. Simultaneously other women of the village drew trees, animal and men around the square. A goddess is also shown. The fertile goddess of vegetation was now ready and would preside over the wedding activities which take place over three days.
The marriage paintings function in a way similar to the seasonal cycle for the Warlis. They encapsulate their entire universe concerning themselves with fundamental aspects of their lives. Made at the time of marriage, they express their most fertile moment and all that precedes and follows it. A typical painting will be found in the darkest part of the hut. In the center is a large square intricately designed like rich sari pallu. Within this stood a triangular figure which was part human with its body striated like the bark of a tree. On the side is a smaller square containing a five headed figure riding a horse.Trees swirled around the square, the different varieties of leaves a forming the web of foliage. The sun the moon are also seen in the painting rotating on their discs throwing lines of energy in different directions.
These caukats are made at the time of marriage and are essential for without them the wedding cannot take place. The central figure of the painting is the marriage goddess ‘Palaghata’ and it is her presence which is essential for the wedding. The decorative square around her is known as the cauk with the smaller square being called deva cauk.The god inside the deva cauk is known as Pancasiriya. The foliage around the goddess is meant to provide her with shade. The location of each painting is of significance. IT hardly reveals itself to the eye immediately.

Its not the end of human existence but another beginning. They believe that death is the same as marriage ad observe almost similar rites (as well as during marriage). Since in their daily life the Warlis have to actively contend with Nature God. Thus there are not only the Sun and Moon Gods but the God of Thunder, of lighting, of the beginning of a tentative move towards sculpture. The ancestral sprit which seems to demand a molded from also allows the Warlis to find self-expression in wood and stone. In the backyard of almost every hut are installed three feet high wooden planks with disc-like heads.


about us AYUSH is self volunteer group of professionals who wants to take initiative to develop & unified our tribal community for future competitions our basic aims are - To bring together all individuals, groups, organizations and initiatives that believe in innovation and development of tribal’s, and to translate their energies into achievements that impact the way and quality of life and society - To connect peoples from different professions & locations with them form knowledge pool for knowledge & experience sharing - To guide/help rural students for their career & future with the help of knowledge pool - To create awareness about business opportunities & employment in rural areas - To connect the rural & urban peoples to update about the future trends & competitions - create confidence among tribal’s & make prepare for future competitions - create awareness about art & culture, promote to preserve art & culture with considering modern lifestyle - to promote strong unity under single tribal banner & remove subtribism in tribal community - remove the dependency & make tribal youth self dependant, confident & successful - To create awareness about use of latest technology in regular life & for social activates our vision A – Ambition of Growth Y – Youth Power U – Unity of Adivasi S – Surety of Support H – Helping Hand Always why we are here? - To utilize our peoples talented, skill & knowledge to help/guide tribal students for their bright future - To connect the peoples from different locations to our community & have good communication between rural & urban peoples - To act as stage for those who wants to something for our community & to translate their energy for developing our community - We are enjoying Satisfaction of having tried To make a difference and the pride of being & making a successful tribal how we can do ? - Connecting different peoples [by internet, mail, sms, forums, etc] - Communication & discussion with all connected peoples [peoples, professionals & students] - Conducting different programs [career guidance, educational guidance, art seminar, cultural festival, debate, etc] - These programs will create confidence among tribal’s which will help to ensure our success we expect - The peoples connected by internet are expected to guide & support our mission & activities - The rural peoples & professionals are expected to support & arrange different programs at local level connect with us - Our aim is to reach each & every tribal’s, we will be happy if you help us

2 Responses to about warli art

  1. tejashree says:

    very very good information ..very helpful for me thank you very much

  2. Parag Darade says:

    warli is not malharkoli

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