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Bisque is that state when pottery is fired in a low temperature kiln (cone 4 or so) to create a piece which is porous and semi-brittle. It absorbs glaze efficiently and uniformly. The piece of pottery is then fired in a much higher temperature kiln (cone 8-12).

Bisqueware is not limited to porcelain.

Greenware, or unfired pottery can be glazed, but the results are more serendipitous.