Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, including painting, sculpture, pottery, and textile arts such as woven silk. Geographically, it spans the entire Indian subcontinent, including what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and eastern Afghanistan. A strong sense of design is characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern and traditional forms.
The origin of Indian art can be traced to prehistoric settlements in the 3rd millennium BC. On its way to modern times, Indian art has had cultural influences, as well as religious influences such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style at any time and place has been shared by the major religious groups.
In historic art, sculpture in stone and metal, mainly religious, has survived the Indian climate better than other media and provides most of the best remains. Many of the most important ancient finds that are not in carved stone come from the surrounding, drier regions rather than India itself. Indian funeral and philosophic traditions exclude grave goods, which is the main source of ancient art in other cultures.
Indian artist styles historically followed Indian religions out of the subcontinent, having an especially large influence in Tibet, South East Asia and China. Indian art has itself received influences at times, especially from Central Asia and Iran, and Europe.