第二十九计 TWENTY NINE
Deck the tree with false blossoms
shù shàng kāi huā
Tying silk blossoms on a dead tree gives the illusion that the tree is alive and blooming.
Use deceit and disguise to make something of little or no value appear valuable; of no threat appear dangerous; of no use appear useful.
Give the impression of being powerful even if you actually have far less power.
Make it appear that you have more manpower, weapons and resources to keep a stronger enemy away.
On the contrary, one can appear weak to lure forward a weaker enemy.
You can make things appear more than they are by adding items that have no significant worth, or by hiding your real ability until it is the right time to act.
Power is not merely the actual potential one has, it is also the assumptions of power that others attribute you.
Yu Xu was blocked at a pass by the Qiang tribe. He spread a rumor that he was waiting for reinforcements This resulted in many Qiang soldiers leaving for other activities.
When Qiang got depleted, Yu Xu's and his troops forced their way through the weakened enemy line.
When Qiang gave chase, Yu Xu ordered to double the number of campfires to be set each night and so appear with much more soldiers than he had in reality.
In addition, he sent soldiers out through one gate and in through another, ordering them to change clothes and repeat the act, like that, again, to appear as a larger force.
Qiang retreated but fell into an ambush where they were destroyed.
Emperor Yangdi tried to impress visiting merchants with grand concerts, free feasts, and even by hanging silk flowers on winter trees to make it appear as if spring had already arrived.