The study of the historical evolution of lexical field plays a significant role in forming a complete history of Chinese vocabulary.Color terms form a large word cluster in the semantics of Chinese vocabulary and are often divided from the perspective of meaning.Clarification of historical evolution，paradigmatic relation，and semantic combination of Chinese color terms in two ancient periods（ancient times before Eastern Han Dynasty and the period from Eastern Han Dynasty to Sui Dynasty）serve as the basis used to form a complete history of Chinese color terms and vocabulary.Meanwhile，color terms function as a platform to discover relevant rules and theories in word-formation.
The system of color terms in ancient times is mainly formed by six color terms：red（chi赤），black（hei黑or xuan玄），white（bai白），cyan（qing青），yellow（huang黄）and purple（zi紫）.Grey（hui灰）word system was produced in medieval times.In this process，monosyllabic words almost remained unchanged while multisyllabic words，mainly of parallel and modifying structures，showed a sharp increase.
By analyzing the color terms before Sui Dynasty，there is a possibility lexical field of each color could be categorized into different clusters.Clusters allow researchers to find preferences of certain colors when combined with other semantic elements，which are mainly characterized with the combination of adjacent color meanings and any accompanied symbolic meanings.This combination happens among both monosyllabic and multisyllabic words.The meanings of the former combined words are rather ambiguous yet the latter seems relatively obvious.
Taking into consideration word frequency，word-formation ability，and collocation scope，the foundational color words of the six lexical fields，red“chi赤”，black“hei黑”，white“bai白”，cyan“qing青”，yellow“huang黄’and purple“zi紫”，were seemingly“chi赤”，“xuan玄，hei黑”，“bai白”，“qing青”，“huang黄”and“zi紫”respectively in ancient times；while during medieval times，evolved to be red“chi赤”，black“hei黑”，white“bai白”，cyan“qing青”，yellow“huang黄’and purple“zi紫”，and the lexical field gray“hui灰”had a basic color term of“hui灰”.It is obvious that the foundational words of color terms of black reduced from the two“xuan玄”and“hei黑”into one“hei黑”.In addition，in medieval times，“hong红”seemed to take the place of“chi赤”and“lv绿”was used to replace“qing青”.
In ancient times，the meanings of color and object were combined in a monosyllabic word，but with the passage of time evolved to something entirely different by middle ancient times.Color meanings began to be separated from and attached before the original word as color terms.As a result，a batch of words in the form of“a certain color + an object”were formed.This was mainly caused by the fading of color meaning and generalization of the original word.To accurately and completely express the meaning，the color meaning was driven to be separated.In addition，other factors from glyph，phone，and rhetoric also led to this phenomenon.The separation of the color meaning from the original word in the middle ancient times is an embodiment of bisyllablization of Chinese，which，however，conforms to the general trend of Chinese vocabulary development.
The similarities and differences in combining preferences of each color word can be clearly shown through such analyses.The similarities present the identities of the terms while the differences are mainly due to the tiny differentiation in colors and word origins.It is reasonable to see some color terms prefer to collocate with certain semantic fields.The calorific meanings of the words“xing骍”，“li骊”，“gao缟”，“xun纁”，“xiang缃”and“cong葱”，attached to some nouns of objects at first tend to collocate with nouns of this category.Similarly，since the calorific meanings of“tong彤”，“zao皂”and“qi漆”come from certain actions，such terms tend to collocate with artificial objects got colors from the actions.This rule confines the collocation partners of the color terms and is known as“the rule of meaning origin”.However，the rule cannot be generalized.It is enlightening to restudy the factors influencing the combining relation of words and helpful when editing a dictionary.
Much attention has been paid to the word "qing青" as it refers to many colors.However，the word "qing青" can express the meanings of both green and blue，but it is not the result of extension.In fact，ancient“lan蓝”and“lv绿”are lexicalized just as a color category.This phenomenon is not peculiar to Chinese and also exists in other languages."Qing青" started to indicate black in the period after the Eastern Han Dynasty，which is the result of meaning extension，and common among many languages.“Qing青”also can refer to the color of a hyacinthine and is another example of meaning extension.Having restudied the word“qing青”in Chinese from a cross-language perspective，we have discovered that a large amount of linguistic phenomena are closely interrelated and can often explain other linguistic terms in Chinese.
Under the influence of image thinking of ancient people，color terms evolved to a crucial stage in the development in object naming.Monosyllabic nouns of the same origin served as a typical example of this feature before the Eastern Han Dynasty.Later，multisyllabic words with color morphemes started to be applied in object naming.Color terms functioned as a written method of categorizing and defining words.Additionally，metonymy usage of color words also allowed for object naming.The cognitive mechanism of these two types of object naming could be understood as the thinking models of metonymy and metaphor.
A lack of knowledge of multi-syllabification，ambiguity，and cultural values of color terms is more likely to lead to errors in a dictionary edition.Therefore，it is of great necessity to probe and analyze the interpretation of words in dictionaries to help determine word accuracy.
The research shows that 32 frequently used color terms，with the help of metaphor or metonymy，finally expanded into 200 semantic items of eight categories correlated with their meanings of color，on the basis of which a semantic system of color terms with the characteristics of family resemblance eventually evolved and formed.“Color cognitive model”is also an important mode of human cognition，which is closely related to amounts of embodiment naming objects through motivation of color.
Key Words：Chinese color terms；Lexical field evolution；Paradigmatic relation；Combining relation；Monographic study