Many cultures have long collected objects which were made to serve a utilitarian function. For Chinese scholars, the study and appreciation of bronzes, porcelains, ivories, and jades was important to their education and quality of life. Connoisseurs also collected objects necessary to create such arts as painted scrolls and calligraphic inscriptions. Some of these scrolls show scholars painting, wriitng poetry, or admiring their collections.

Other cultures, too, create art for pure enjoyment or enhancement of intellect. Writers, artists, and musicians are both the creators and the subjects of art.