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Kilij sabre from The Mummy Returns (2001)

Discussion in 'Production Made Costumes and Props' started by RobertMuldoon, Sep 17, 2015.

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  1. RobertMuldoon

    RobertMuldoon Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is a new acquisition to my collection, from the wonderful people at the PropStore London:
    20150917-200817-Kilij.jpg 20150917-200946-Kilij.jpg 20150917-201002-Kilij.jpg 20150917-201042-Kilij.jpg

    It's one of the swords used by the Medjai in the big battle against the Anubis warriors at the end of The Mummy Returns (2001). The sword's made of hard foam and has a plastic rod core which pokes out at the tip, which just pokes out at the tip. It was casted in a two part mould, and there is a parting line with a tiny bit of flash on the false edge. It's been spray painted

    For an action comedy a lot of the details in the film (and its predecessor) are pretty historically accurate and the prop teams have had good advisers and done their research. This sword is no exception to that, even if it as just to be used by extras in one or two scenes, and it's based on an early pattern of sabre known as a kilij (or sometimes kilic), dating from around the 15th century (in later evolutions the kilij became much more curved and more like a shamshir). At that time it was used by the Egyptian Mamluks and Ottoman Turks, so I think that it's wholly appropriate an ancient group like the Madjai (who historically date back to the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom, although didn't become a police force until the New Kingdom) would still be using them centuries later.

    This is a good reference scan from a book showing the dimensions of a surviving 15th century kilij:
    earlykilijxx_zps21bd1757.jpg~original.jpg

    This one isn't directly attributed to the 15th century but it is widely believed to be from that period:
    ottomankilij.jpg~original.jpg

    Compared to the originals the blade on the prop is a little short and the grip a little long. However the most interesting difference is that the originals were fullered blades and only the 'yelman' section on the distal third of the blade would have been sharp, whereas the prop has an edge bevel all along the false edge and no fuller. I wonder if that was a deliberate change by the prop department, or if it happened accidentally because they misinterpreted a reference. The dimensional changes to the blade could have been to make it fit better on camera, and the larger grip is actually a similar size to later era sabres so perhaps that was for the actors' comfort.

    What I found quite surprising for a foam prop sword is that it's actually quite wieldy, and aside from the point of balance being a bit too far forward the sword moves comparable to a real sabre. It's a bit lighter than a 19th century pattern sabre, but it does have quite a nice authority to the blade and I think it'd have been fun to use for the fight scenes.
     
  2. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You kids today and your historical swords...

    Pretty stylish looking. Should look nice on the wall.


    -MJ
     
  3. RobertMuldoon

    RobertMuldoon Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well I *do* collect real antique sabres :D

    It does indeed buddy, it's currently living with my real swords.
     

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