The Rock has two tattoos. One is a modern single design on his right upper arm of a bull. However, his second tattoo was a departure from modern tattoo design, being a traditional Samoan style of tattoo all over his left shoulder.
The bull head tattoo on Johnson’s right arm corresponds to his Western zodiac birth sign of Taurus, the Bull. The tattoo is a long-horn type of steer and is a fairly straightforward outline style of design. The eyes of the bull are also colored in red. The tattooing on his left arm and shoulder is traditional Samoan style tattooing, done by an artist in Hawai’i.
It incorporates traditional tribal patterns and symbols represen
ting Johnson himself, his wife and daughter, his family and spirit guides. This extensive half sleeve wraps all the way around the upper arm, over the shoulder and onto the chest. A later session extended the section on his chest, adding a large symbolic warrior face over his heart.
Traditionally, Samoan tattooing was done by an artist, assisted by multiple people. The tattooist would use two tools, one a bone-tipped rake and the other the striking stick. The rake would be dipped in ink, then struck with the other stick to puncture the skin. The assistants had the job of holding the skin of the tattooee taut so that the artist could work. In his recent interview with Playboy magazine, Johnson did mention that that work took sixty hours total to execute, spread out over three sessions and was composed entirely freehand (
meaning the artist worked right on his skin without a stencil or transfer). He did not mention if the tattoo was done with the traditional hand tools or if any of the ink was tattooed by conventional machine.
Dwayne has two tatoos, one on his right arm of a Brahma Bull that represents his sign of the zodiac which is Taurus the Bull and also he has an affinity for bulls. His next tattoo extends from his left shoulder, shoulder blade, and midway his left arm. It is a Polynesian tattoo (basically Marquesan) that he had done in Hawaii sometime in February of 2003 by Po’oino Yrondi – a famous Tahitian tattooist.
What Does Dwayne’s Polynesian Tattoo Mean? In early 2003, Dwayne traveled to Hawaii to have his family history tattooed on him—a Samoan tradition. Here he reveals the meanings of his tattoo.
- A) These are coconut leaves, or niu, which denote a Samoan chief-warrior.
- B) This is the sun which brings good fortune.
- C) This isa/ga fa’atasi (three people in one), That’s me with my arms open. As it continues on my chest, it connects to my o lo’u to’a/ua (my wife, Dany) and my o lo’u afafine (my daughter, Simone Alexandra).
- D) These descending swirls represent past, present and future, with the future becoming ever bigger. The pattern continues under my arm, where its meaning is written: “It changes in the place where it is found to be gone.”
- E) These two eyes, called o mata e lua, represent my ancestors watching over my path.
- F) This is the Great Eye, It’s an intimidating symbol that allows its user to possess the spirit of his enemy. The eye is used to distract the enemy in a confrontation.
- G) This broken face, marked by shark teeth—a s
- ymbol of strength—is my spirit protector and a symbol of my struggle.
- H) This is the priest and spiritual guide, who raises a warrior to enlightenment and supernatural power under the eyes of the warrior’s ancestors.
- I) These are stones of achievement and abundance. They’re the foundation of my life and symbols of my dedication. They bring the right to stand and speak with honor as a Tula Fale—a high talking chief—and they maintain mana, or supernatural power.
- J) This is a tortoise shell, to deflect evil spirits. Warriors used shells as shields.
It took between 15-20 hours to have done (not counting his chest that was done afterward). According to Dwayne, when you get a tattoo like this, it tells the story of his life and what he represents, what’s important in his life from strength to protection to loyalty to family. It tells a story from beginning to end. During the process of receiving this tatoo he along with his cousin Tanoa’i, who also got a tattoo of the same magnit
ude that took 24 hours, sat around with other cousins and friends and talked about the story of his heritage as well and played music and sang in order to take their minds off of the pain of getting the tattoo.