Emacs seems to use the 16 colors which were defined in a color scheme inside the terminal emulator as default.

This works well, I would not want to switch to a whole emacs color profile. E.g I can specify the color of a "component" in emacs with a fixed color name or value like so:

(set-face-background 'mode-line "purple")

Is it also possible to tell Emacs to use one of the 16 defaults for this? like "color01" or sth.?

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If you run emacs -nw, you can list all valid color names that can be used in the terminal. Here's an extract from M-x list-colors-display:

black                                                     #000000
red                                                       #cd0000
green                                                     #00cd00
yellow                                                    #cdcd00
blue                                                      #0000ee
magenta                                                   #cd00cd
cyan                                                      #00cdcd
white                                                     #e5e5e5
brightblack                                               #7f7f7f
brightred                                                 #ff0000
brightgreen                                               #00ff00
brightyellow                                              #ffff00
brightblue                                                #5c5cff
brightmagenta                                             #ff00ff
brightcyan                                                #00ffff
brightwhite                                               #ffffff
color-16                                                  #000000
...                                                       ...
color-255                                                 #eeeeee

As you can see, for some reason only colors 16 to 255 are numbered. Colors 0 to 15 use some take on the standard names of the 16-color terminal palette. To make use of them, use the identifiers above when customizing a theme.

If you're not in a terminal emulator, but would like to use its colors in a GUI Emacs, try the xresources-theme.

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