It seems that the Judensau developed primarily in Germany and in German speaking regions of Europe. Although the oldest known example of a Judensau that is still in existence, although badly weathered, is dated to about 1230 and located in the Cathedral of Brandenburg, there was no know general understanding of what Judensau meant prior to Martin Luther. Who started the Judenau is impossible to ascertain.
The weathered sculpture on Regensburg's cathedral
The centerpieces of this essay are the infamous and public Judensau
depictions of medieval Europe, statuary that frequently contained both scatological and COPROPHAGOUS elements. The known examples seem to have
been in the German realm, even those now found in France, Switzerland,
Poland, and Sweden; Poland and Sweden were under heavy German influence,
if not actually populated by Germans.
The depictions continue to exist even after almost eight centuries,
though their locations and particulars are not well known. Not until the late
Isaiah Shachar documented a variety of them did their presence and scope
in the twentieth century become rediscovered.1 Because Shachar’s pamphlet
is not generally available, I have created this summary of the subject,
after visiting the Judensau shown in this essay.
The Judensau had no standard form, except for an unclear connection
of unknown origin between Jews and pigs. A Jew, frequently reading,
might ride on the back of a pig, occasionally in a reversed position. Or else
a Jew might embrace a pig, sometimes in a position that implied some form
of copulatory behavior. One or more Jews, sometimes children, may be
seen underneath the pig, suckling at its teats. There may be a Jew positioned
behind the pig, being sprayed with or eating excrement, or drinking the
pig’s urine, or pointing at the pig’s rectum. A Jew might be seen kissing the
snout of the pig or the pig kissing a Jew.
Though the term “Judensau” does not allow one to conclude either the
reasons behind its creation or what its specific content might be depicting,
the general subject was always the same—i.e., Jews and pigs in a derogatory
Rev. Martin Luther gave a personal interpretation of a specific Judensau,
one still on public display in Wittenburg, Germany, described and
shown below. Luther entirely invented perspective associated Jews with
deviltry, while the filth of the pig was given as a metaphor for the Talmud.
But prior to Luther’s description, there was no general understanding of
what these Judensau meant, outside of relating a Jew and a pig in some
unclear way. One interpretation that has been offered expresses the notion
that the Jews belonged to the sow, the sow to the Jews—i.e., both were
examples of an abominable category of filthy beings. While early Judensau
representations may have been nothing more than a repulsive joke of which
Jews were the targets, Luther’s interpretation has incorrectly often been
applied retroactively to all Judensau carvings, statuary, and decorations. - JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF ANTISEMITISM (Vol. 2 Pages 393- 394).
Judenau of Wittenberg (Judensau 2010, Pages 402-404)
The Judenau seems to have developed in German speaking areas only, rather than one from English speaking regions. We can not say with any surety the origins of the Judensau, nor its' true original meaning at this point in time.
One of the main questions remains why the Judensau developed primarily in the
German speaking regions. Isaiah Shachar sees different readings and inter
pretation of Biblical texts, an aligning of the swine with the Jews in Hrabanus
Maurus’ De Universo, at the origin of the development, contrasting the German
tradition with the English that is remarkably void of the Jew sow motif, in spite of the quite numerous examples of sows, often with suckling piglets, in English churches and monasteries as well as in manuscripts of bestiaries. Both traditions share the idea of the filthiness of the swine, utilizing the animal to symbolize impurity, thus also serving as a symbol for heretics, and the vices of luxuria andgula, yet the sow with piglets seems to be a distinctive feature of the English manuscript illustration. Recently, Israel Yuval has launched the appealing theory that the Judensau motif derived from the vilification of the Messianic donkey, that it is, in fact, it's satiric opposite. - Laughter in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times
It is not solely Christians who used the imagery of pig in a derogatory fashion.
The pig as a derogatory image was neither reduced to Jews nor used exclusively by Christians. Both Christians and Jews equated Muslims to pigs. - Laughter in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times Page 330, Note #17