Top 10 James Hetfield Tattoos and Their Symbolism

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The Top Ten

1 Flames encasing four playing cards: ace (1), 9, 6 and 3, representing the year of his birth (on his left shoulder)

Flames are in reference to the pyrotechnic accident he suffered in 1992 during a concert in Montréal, Canada. - Metal_Treasure

2 Jesus Christ (on his right arm)

Respect

3 St. Michael and Satan, symbolizing the victory over the human vices (on the inner side of his right arm)
4 The music notes from Metallica's song "Orion" played at Cliff Burton's funeral, next to a beautiful eye (on his left elbow)

This one looks very beautiful. - Metal_Treasure

5 The names of his children "Marcella", "Tali" and "Castor" (on his breast)

Their names are placed around the holy cross and prayerfully folded hands - his kids are always in his heart and he prays for them. - Metal_Treasure

6 A skull, surrounded by the words "Live to Win, Dare to Fail" (on his right shoulder)
7 The words "Lead Foot", fire and horseshoe (on his upper back)

This one is very big. - Metal_Treasure

8 A big angel (between his left wrist and elbow)
9 A spider web with a wrench in it (on his right elbow)
10 A skull with wings (on his neck)

The Contenders

11 The words "Carpe Diem", latin for "seize the day" (on his left shoulder)

This is under the composition with the playing cards (the year of his birth).
Carpe diem is a Latin aphorism from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace's work Odes (23 because). - Metal_Treasure

12 An "F" for "Francesca", his wife (on his left hand)
13 Christian crosses on different parts of the body
14 The letters "CBL" for Cliff Lee Burton (above his left elbow)
15 Two razors forming the straight edge X symbol (on his left wrist)
16 The words "RIFF" and "LIFE" on his right and left knuckles
17 An "M" for "Metallica" (on his right hand)
18 The word "Liberty" (on his left arm)
19 The word "Faith" (on his left arm)
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List Stats

19 listings
1 year, 340 days old

Top Remixes

1. Flames encasing four playing cards: ace (1), 9, 6 and 3, representing the year of his birth (on his left shoulder)
2. St. Michael and Satan, symbolizing the victory over the human vices (on the inner side of his right arm)
3. Jesus Christ (on his right arm)
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