A mid-19th century title reads Daimotsu-no-ura ayakashi no zu, 大物の浦罔像[あやかし]の圖, which I would translate as Picture of the 'Sea Phantoms' at Daimotsu-no-ura.
I cannot grasp why the kanji 罔像 have been used to represent the word ayakashi. Preliminary research indicates that 1. 罔 can have a Goon reading of mō (もう), Kan'on reading of bō (ぼう), and Kun reading of ami (あみ), shiiru (しいる), nai (ない), basic definition of "net," and 2. 像 has a reading of zō (ぞう, historical hiragana ざう), meaning "image, figure, statue, picture, portrait" and "figure, form, shape, appearance." I can't find 罔像 in any online dictionaries, and originally pondered whether 罔像 might allude to some kind of "deceptive image" or "deceptive figure" given other compounds using the character 罔. Any insights?
The furigana あやかし in the title definitely indicates that 罔像 should be read as ayakashi. Wikipedia indicates that ayakashi is usually seen as 妖 - which brings me to the other part of my question: how does 妖 read as ayakashi when 妖 = yo/yō (よう); yao (やお); aya (あや); but the kashi is not accounted for? Yō (妖) can be interpreted as "mysterious, bewitching, unearthly," or "weird." Zack Davisson ('What Does Ayakashi Mean in English?', and 'What Does Yokai Mean in English?'), suggests that yō (妖) hints at paranormal or supernatural phenomena that are perplexing, intriguing, and enchanting, rather than phenomena that are frightening or horrifying, and is seen compounded in words such as yoka (妖花), an "ethereally beautiful flower," or ayashii (妖しい), "bewitching, charming." So why is ayakashi represented by a single kanji?
The word Ayakashi is said to be a collective name for yōkai (妖怪, ようかい), ghostly forms that appear above the surface of water, that is, tend to appear at boundaries - the places where one thing becomes another thing - the boundary between the ocean and the air rather than the dark depths. They might be thought of, or translated as, "strange phenomenon of the sea." General references indicate that ayakashi are sea ghosts, apparitions, phantoms, or spectres: in various Japanese prefectures they are largely considered to be "atmospheric ghost lights that appear above water," and are clearly linked to the funayūrei (船幽霊, ふなゆうれい, "boat ghosts"), for in Yamaguchi and Saga prefectures ayakashi refer to yūrei who drowned at sea and try to sink boats and drown swimmers either for revenge or to swell their ranks. They are known to float up to the surface of the water, appearing first as kaika, then transforming into figures. Zack Davisson also mentions that in Noh theatre the "male mask of a ghost or violent god is called ayakashi" though the word uses particular kanji, 怪士 (ayaka, 怪, "strange," and shi, 士, "warrior").