Based on corpus data and adopting a behavioral profile approach, this study examines the time orientation of Chinese words qian “front” and hou “back.” The corpus analysis yields the following findings. First, the primary temporal meaning of qian and hou is indicating time sequence, with qian meaning “earlier” and hou meaning “later.” Second, Chinese speakers tend to conceptualize the future as being ahead of them and the past behind them. Both qian and hou are found to refer to the past and the future. Their contradictory usage arises from the lack of a distinction between Ego-Reference-Point and Time-Reference-Point. Third, qian and hou are used mainly in five constructions as temporal words. Their constructional profiles reveal that their time orientation correlates with the constructions in which they occur. Based on the corpus results, I also discuss the motivations underlying their time orientation in various constructions and argue that their time orientation stems from an interplay of temporal metaphors, the constructions in which they occur, and context. These findings suggest that speakers’ metaphorical representations of time are shaped by a multitude of factors rather than single space-to-time mappings.