Folk Art

How to Paint Horses of Pithora Painting

Let’s explore the folk art of India with kids. Today we will paint horses that we see in Pithora painting.

What is Pithora painting?

Pithora paintings are folk art paintings done by several tribes like Rathwas and Bhilalas tribes of India. These tribes settled in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. So you would find Pithora paintings in all these regions.

Pithora paintings like Warli paintings and many other folk art forms in India are painted on the walls of tribal houses for festivals and celebrations. These were originally painted with natural colours but now synthetic paints are used. Also, we find these paintings on canvas and cardboard now and are commercially quite popular.

Historically Pithora art is more than thousand years old and was painted in caves and rocks. 

Pithora art is sacred. No two paintings are similar. They are usually painted on the main wall of the house. Before painting, the walls are covered with a coating of dung, water and chuna and this process is known as Lipai.

What is drawn in Pithora art?

Pithora paintings have various connotations.

One idea of these paintings was to give an idea of a map to the traders of the region. So many a times, you would see seven horses to represent the seven hills that surround the area where the Rathwas reside. There is a rectangular fence with the Arabian Sea in the west. There is sometimes the wavy line in the middle of the painting to depict the river Narmada.

In another connotation, the painting has horses of main Gods and Goddesses along with main God, Baba Pithora. Each God is represented in a defined way and the colours and motifs of the horses and Gods are also specified.

The painting is divided into 3 parts, the upper part of the painting has the sun and the moon, the second part has the horses with Gods and Goddesses. They are along with birds, animals and insects. The third part has images of daily life and chores of the tribe.

Around 80-85 main pictures are drawn in a painting of size 11 feet by 9 feet. The colours used are vivid reds, greens, oranges and blues.

Let’s paint the horses

As you can understand by now, the horses are sacred and they are included in all Pithora paintings.

One can easily understand the style of the art from the horses. They have a distinctive shape and they seem to be in movement. Though these paintings are drawn by artisans in freehand with no formal training in art, they seemed to have perfected the art of drawing horses. With these horses, the entire Pithora painting looks energetic.


Let’s paint horses in few simple steps. This is one of the easiest step-by-step way to draw a horse.

First, draw the bean-shaped body tilted upwards. Then draw two arcs for the neck. The head is held low. The legs are bent at an angle. They are then adorned with designs.

These horses look quite different from the Bankura horses of Bengal.

Add foliage and smaller animals to complete the painting. Try other folk art from other parts of India.


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