Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Tattoos & What They Mean
Gain an insight into the meaning of megastar Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson’s pair of symbolic tattoos.
Superstar actor, businessman, and occasional pro wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a collector of meaningful ink, and one of the most recognizable tattooed humans on planet Earth.
Whether he’s on set, in the ring, or sweating it out in his “Iron Paradise” the Rock is a constant symbol of hard work and dedication. His enthusiasm and commitment to hard work, family, and heritage is reflected in his choice of body art.
How many tattoos does Dwayne Johnson have?
Johnson has two tattoos. His most famous is the large tribal piece across his left arm, shoulder, and chest. He also has a half sleeve brahma bull tattooed on his right arm, an epic cover up of a much smaller and older piece referencing his old college nickname.
Polynesian Tribal Tattoo
The Rock’s tribal piece represents his family, personality, and ancestral traditions. Johnson’s father Rocky, who sadly passed away in January 2020, was a trailblazing wrestler of black Nova Scotian descent. His mother, Ata Johnson, is of Samoan heritage.
The Rock’s tribal piece represents his family, personality, heritage and ancestral traditions. The elaborate Polynesian tribal design covers the left side of his chest, shoulder and arm in a half-sleeve design.
It was tattooed by Po’oino Yrondy during a vacation to Hawaii Johnson took with cousin Tanon’i in 2013. Getting a traditional tribal piece of this kind is a rite of passage for young Polynesian men looking to tell their stories and that of their forefathers on their skin.
Johnson met with Yrondi for hours in pre tattoo consultation before spending three separate sessions of 20 hours getting the brilliantly etched tattoo finalized. Johnson has said the piece is an important part of his cultural heritage that protects him spiritually in addition to detailing his life’s journey.
Each piece of the Rock’s tattoo has a very specific meaning, with spiritual protection at the forefront of his Polynesian tribal body art.
- A broken face marked by shark teeth: this acts as the Rock’s spirit protector, a symbol of his constant struggle to live and achieve to his fullest capability
- The Sun: an evergreen theme in tribal tattoo the orb represents good luck
- A/ga fa’atasi: This translates to three people in one. This represents Dwayne, his first wife Dany, and daughter Simone
- The Great Eye: a protection symbol used to divert the enemy’s attention in battle
- A tortoise shell: to watch his back and deflect evil spirits
- The stones of achievement and abundance: these act as visual representations of the bedrock of heritage Johnson’s life has been built on
- Coconut leaves: These acknowledge a Samoan chief-warrior
- Descending swirls: this technical application is used to display the past, present and future
- Two eyes: another protective sigil symbolizing his ancestors watching over his path
- A priest and guide: these figures represent enlightenment
Bull Tattoo Cover Up
Johnson’s other tattoo is a half sleeve bull on his right upper bicep. It’s an abstract black and gray skull with white highlights threaded into the piece. The bull is a cover up of an older, smaller brahma bull referencing the Rock’s college nickname, and Zodiac sign Taurus.
The new bull was inked by high profile artist Nikko Hurtado in 2017 and took in excess of 20 hours to complete. In an official Instagram post introducing his new addition, Johnson said of the bull’s symbolism:
“Every detail is a reflection of my own personal history. “From the cracks and heavy damage in the bone representing life’s hard lessons I’ve learned over the years. Just like scars and wrinkles — I’m so grateful to have ’em because they’re earned,” he wrote.
“To the horns, not pointing up or out to the side, but pointing straight ahead representing relentless energy and forward progress. The core and anchor of this image is in the eye. Look closely and you’ll find the life, energy, power and you’ll feel the MANA (spirit). The eye tells the story of a disruptive positive energy always ready to dent the universe.”