[Not in series 149] 2009
► pp. 243–262
According to the theory of internal organs in traditional Chinese medicine, the gallbladder has the function of making judgments and decisions in mental processes and activities, and it also determines one’s degree of courage. This culturally constructed medical characterization of the gallbladder forms the base of the cultural model for the concept of courage. In the core of this cultural model is a pair of conceptual metaphors: (a) gallbladder is container of courage, and (b) courage is qi (gaseous vital energy) in gallbladder, which are partly constitutive of the understanding of the gallbladder and courage in Chinese culture. A description and analysis of the data from the Chinese language show that numerous conventional expressions are systematically tied to each other and contributive to the underlying conceptual metaphors. The study presents a case in which an abstract concept (courage) is understood in part via a conceptual metaphor grounded in the body, but shaped by a culturespecific metaphorical understanding of an internal organ (gallbladder) inside the body. Although the human body is a potentially universal source domain for metaphors structuring abstract concepts, cultural models set up specific perspectives from which certain aspects of bodily experience or certain parts of the body are viewed as especially salient and meaningful in the understanding of those abstract concepts.