When I told him that I didn't he replied that it was an earthquake detector. He then explained that the jaws of the dragons were hinged and held a ball. In response to a tremor under the earth the dragons' hinged jaws would fall open and drop the ball into the mouth of the frog. Hence when one heard or saw the ball dropping into the mouth of the frog one knew an earthquake was neigh.
As I looked at this beautiful object of practical art it occurred to me that if I had been a wealthy Chinese citizen back during whatever dynasty who could have afforded one of these in-home detectors, rather than conveying a sense of security and peace of mind, having a couple of these situated around the house would probably have caused me anxiety. And my kids, too. I can see them and me checking the frogs fifteen times a day to make sure that the balls were still in the dragons' mouths. I can see us dreaming about them. I can see me assuring my little ones every night as I tucked them in that there was absolutely nothing worry about, that Daddy and I would always keep them safe, that they should never fear, that we were all in God's hands, that everything would be all right, really and truly.
I think I must have been dealing with some not-yet dissipated residual piano recital anxiety.