Certain general characteristics of art and architecture of ancient period is given below:

1. Art activities were mostly related to religions.

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2. In early period representations of Buddha in the form of Bodhi tree, Stupa, foot prints, etc., were made and worshipped. However, as early as 1st century BCE images of Buddha began to be sculpted. Making of images for worship became common among other religions as well.

3. The construction of Stupas, Chaityas and Viharas became popular.

4. The art forms used the technique of symbolic representations. They witnessed decoration and extensive carving by artists. It usually depicted scenes that were observed in nature and threw light on religious ideas and society of the period. In fact, secular art forms were inherent part of religious architecture.

5. Because of regular interactions with other cultures in this period we also find elements of non-Indian art in the artistic creations of this period.

This is particularly true of the Gandhara region which produced art typical to the region, in which many different elements came to be assimilated.