A collection of handwritten letters will be displayed in the China National Museum in an effort to preserve the beauty of the written word.
Experts say handwritten letters may become precious cultural heritage items due to the development of modern correspondence technologies.
"These letters are a package of various cultures in literature, aesthetics and calligraphy. They also reflect the development of China's traditional rites, papermaking industry, post and package services," says Bai Gengsheng, deputy director of the China Folk Literature and Art Society, which is spearheading the collection project.
"They not only help maintain bonds between family members but also record the changing society over thousands of years," says Bai.
He worries that the next generation may never receive a handwritten letter as an increasing number of people turn to e-mail, mobile phones and other modern channels for communication.
He says the project will welcome all kinds of handwritten letters between family members, including the letter paper and envelopes. There are no restrictions on the length of letters or when they may have been written.
According to Bai, China's National Museum will select 100 letters for its permanent collection after an evaluation by experts.
The project - jointly launched by the National Museum, China Folk Literature and Art Society, as well as the Chinese National Culture Research Institute - started on April 11.