Warli painting is a tribal art of white coloured painting or depiction of human figurines and objects of everyday life on mud wall canvases. Warli Painting is a folk art through white painting on mud walls created by the tribals found on the outskirts of Mumbai, mostly in Thane district. This tribal art was originally created for transfer of folklore to successive generations, once practised only by women. The themes of such paintings depict humans, animals, and scenes from daily life.
The white depictions on red or brown coloured mud walls are simple drawings with profound themes portrayed. The paintings, resemble pre-historic cave paintings in execution. Scenes of humans engaged in hunting, dancing, sowing and harvesting are generally chosen.
Warli painting is done on mud walls using only one color, white. Warli paintings representing Palghat, the marriage god, including horse carrying bride and groom are considered sacred. Dots, lines and geometric patterns are mostly preferred. Themes such as Pujas, special occasions, human tales and suffering are popular subjects. The appeal of Warli paintings lies in the simplicity and straightforward narrations on canvas. The white paint is made from rice paste and water with the use of gum as a binder. The brush is a small bamboo stick chewed at the end to utilize as such. Since these wall paintings are not a regular feature of their lives and done only for special occasions such as weddings or harvests, it partially explains the crudity in their paintings. Nevertheless this unique art speaks much about the skills of these tribal folk in the representation of themes on life explained with such simplicity.
Today this art has also been transferred to a popular canvas, the saree, which is both a traditional attire and a national heritage.