A reader adds to the surprisingly resilient thread:
May I offer another perspective on the “piggy bank“ discussion: Proponents of the ‘pygg’ theory may need to explain why the German and Dutch words for piggy bank are ‘Sparschwein’ and ‘spaarvarken’; the first part being derived from the verb ‘to save’, and ‘Schwein’ and ‘varken’ meaning ‘pig’. The animal. The words have nothing to do with any type of clay. The meaning here is very clear, in German, Dutch and English: a pig is a store of wealth. Pigs, both when living and after they are slaughtered, act as a store of energy and proteins. The high fat content of pork means that bacon and ham, for example, keep very well, making it ideal to save for winter time, or when harvests fail.
For centuries, pork was used as a buffer to dampen the fluctuations of the food supply. Just as today you dip into the savings in your, yes, piggy bank, when money is tight.
I’ve always thought the ‘pygg’ theory is being promoted by overzealous vegetarians who have a hard time accepting that anything positive can be associated with the consumption of meat.