Menuki-Ornament placed over the peg that holds the hilt to the tang. The primary purpose of the Menuki is decorative in nature although some schools emphasis there use to insure proper placement of the hand. In my recent studies of tryting to re-create the Masamune, I have found out that there are only approximately 50 swords in existance that he actually forged. Masamune rarely signed his swords and that is why they are so difficult to come accross. Because of the rarity of images on the internet or from books, I am forced to assemble 1 Masamune from a series of parts from other Masamune swords. The menuki that I used as a reference took over 2 weeks for me to find. I am very pleased with how this came out overall.
The Basic overall shape was created in 3D Max and I completed it in Z-Brush. This specific image is what I used as direct reference for my menuki. It is original artwork by Masamune: [link] If you want to read the English Translation by Google, go here: [link];prev=/search%3Fq%3D[link]
Tools: 3D Studio Max 8 Z Brush 3 Photshop Tweaks 1 Full Day Effort... not including research time. That would be well over 3 weeks due to the research on the entire sword and history.
3,031,040 Polygons - This is not a typo.
References: Masamune The Swordsmith [link] Other Menuki: [link]