Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
In African religion, and especially among the Akan, the presence of suman is a significant part of the culture. A suman is a material object that is dedicated to religious purposes because of its energy. Because religion is based on a set of beliefs, suman is an aspect of the religion that is derived from a belief in the energizing capacity of certain objects. Most African cultures accept the following hierarchy: God, the ancestors, the spirits, the totem, and suman, also called charms. The suman is a specialized piece of art that is used as a talisman or charm for offensive or defensive capabilities. A suman is not a fetish, ...