|| Pulu was subdivided into “genus of utensils “, “genus of food and drinks”, and “genus of plants and animals” under the Zibu of the Si Ku Quan Shu, formally defined the scopes and contents of this category. Therefore, Si Ku Quan Shu played a vital role in the process of both Pulu and bibliography.
Although first appeared in the Suichutang Sumu by You Mao in the Song Dynasty, Pulu was prototyped in the edition of Si Ku Quan Shu in the Qing Dynasty for the fact that it was not adapted by the bibliographers at that time, quite time-consuming. Before that, Pulu was viewed as a way of compiling documents instead of a catalog of books. As the remained documents indicate, as early as in the Zhou Dynasty, documents were arranged in the form of Pulu.
Therefore, the definition of Pulu evolved from “a way of compiling documents” to a catalog of books, referring to a document type on some specific “contents” edited in the compiling way. The distorting, years-long development and time-lagging prototype led to different interpretation on the formation of Pulu, awaiting this thesis for clarification.
With different viewpoints and different eras, the functions and characteristics of documents present different meanings. Pulu, defined as “to understand one specific thing” in the Si Ku Quan Shu, though not a new material for research, is rarely under systematic analysis. Besides, it used to be emphasized for the “practical” function. However, as the documents under the Pulu of Si Ku Quan Shu indicate, the description of material life by Chinese literati had been optional, with a majority of positive materials which were spiritualized into some extent. In another word, the alternate description of material life and spiritual life illustrated a special way of narration.
Pulu ought to be a microscope of understanding the literati thinking on material culture, instead of a tool-oriented encyclopedia. With different points of view, this thesis examines values, senses of beauty, and cultural deliberations via the aspects and structures of Pulu.