Gong Zhiqiao obtained a piece of fine Chinese tung wood and made a qin (stringed musical instrument) out of it. When installed with strings and plucked, it gave out a wonderful sound, harmonious and pleasing to the ear.
Gong Zhiqiao thought this was the finest instrument in the world, so he presented it to the Tai Chang Si Qing (a high official in charge of rites and protocol of the ancestral temple) who had it examined by an imperial musician, but the musician disdained to have a look at it. He only said “Not ancient!” and returned the instrument.
Gong Zhiqiao had to take it home and asked a lacquerer to paint many crackles on the instrument in imitation of an ancient qin, and asked a sculptor to carve on it some inscriptions of ancient scholars. Then he put it in a box and buried it underground.
After one year, Gong Zhiqiao took out the instrument from underground, and went to the market to sell it. It happened that an influential personage was passing by. He bought it with 100 pieces of gold and presented it to the imperial court. The imperial musicians vied with each other to look at it and praised in unison: “Ah! It is indeed a rare stringed musical instrument in the world!”