Gudongtan lies 75 km south west of Dunhuang city, near the old Yangguan Pass. Many people who have visited the site luckily found coins, beads, jadeware, bronze swords and other little antiques. This is why people call it Gudongtan which means”antique sand”. Nobody can explain where these antiques come from, but one old legend may shed a light on the mystery.
According to the legend, the sand here buried precious dowry of a Chinese princess who was going to marry the prince of Khotan kingdom. The empress of Chinese empire prepared abundant dowry for her daughter. Dozens of camel carts were packed with Jewelries, gold and silver ware, silk, rouge, spices and cloth of four seasons. The long bridal procession escorted by soldiers left the capital one morning and headed for the Kingdom in Western region.
When the bridal procession reached Gudongtan, they were looted by a group of bandits who have laid in ambush behind the dunes. These bandits were in fact from a nearby little kingdom. Their king had made a proposal to the Chinese princess, but he was turned down by Chinese emperor for his little kingdom was too poor and too small. The king was enraged, he sent spies to China and was later informed that the bridal procession will pass Gudongtan. He then sent 300 confidential soldiers smeared face with ink and covered head with white scarf hiding behind the dunes and waiting for the signal.
It was a dim afternoon, as the bridal procession was walking slowly, soldiers complaining the long journey and harsh desert. Suddenly a loud horn broke the peace. Hundreds of bandits rushed out from the dunes. The bridal procession soon fell in to disorder from the sudden attack. However escorting soldiers soon recovered and fought back. After a bitter fighting, all the escorting soldiers were killed by bandits.
When the bandits collected the treasures rejoicingly and were about to take them back, they saw a yellow dust wall was moving quickly toward them. “Sandstorm, sandstorm!” people shouted. The sky soon turned into dark, strong wind with sand and dust blocked the sunlight. The sandstorm lasted for 3 days and nights. After the sky cleared up again, all the treasures disappeared as well as soldiers’ body and those bandits.