The Painted World of the Warlis

The Painted World of the Warlis

Product ID: 3670

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Author: Yashodrara Dalmia
Publisher: Lalit Kala Akademi
Year: 1988
Language: English
Pages: 239
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A


A profusely illustrated volume covering the powerful expression of the Art and Ritual of the Warli Tribes of Maharashtra.

When Warli art was first discovered, in the early seventies, it created a sensation. In many important respects, it was different from the folk and tribal idiom known to urban India then. It did not narrate mythological stories in vibrant tones as did the Madhubani paintings of Mithila, nor did it contain the robust sensuality of the pata paintings found in district of Bengal, Orissa or Rajasthan. Hitherto completely unknown, with no record kept even by the British, existed a whole range of paintings adding a new dimension to the tribal art of India.

Warli paintings, which are made by the Warli tribals of Thane district in Maharashtra, are strangely ascetic. They do not consist of myriad primary colors, so intimately associated with folk painting in India. Instead they are painted on an austere brown surface with the use of only one color-white. The only exceptions are red and yellow auspicious dots which are used to decorate the painting.

The art of the Warlis then, is part of a ritual tradition and needs to be studied within this context to be fully understood. Ritual art, here as elsewhere, exists for a very specific purpose where it fulfils the aims of the individual and the community.

The first part of this book deals with the rites and myths, and the latter half attempts an analysis of the paintings. The two parts of the book are seen as a cohesive whole where each serves to illustrate and amplify the other.