"Thus, it is never, properly speaking, the eagle which the Osage invoke. For, according to the time and circumstances, it is eagles of different species which are in question: the golden eagle, the spotted eagle, the bald eagle, etc., or eagles of different colours: red, white, spotted, etc.; or finally eagles at different stages of their life: young, old, etc. This three-dimensional matrix, a genuine system by means of a creature, and not the creature itself, constitutes the object of thought and furnishes the conceptual tool. Were the image not so trivial one would be tempted to compare this tool to a utensil with crossed metal blades which is used for cutting potatoes into slices or chips: a 'preconceived' grid is applied to all the empirical situations with which it has sufficient affinities for the elements obtained always to preserve certain general properties. The number of pieces is not always the same nor is the form of each absolutely identical but those which come from the centre remain in the centre, those which come from the periphery on the periphery..."
Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, p. 149